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Jaswinder Bolina

Jaswinder Bolina

Jaswinder Bolina is the author of Carrier Wave, winner of the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry. His recent work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Offending Adam, and in the Best American Poetry 2011. He currently teaches at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

Also by Jaswinder Bolina


Phantom Camera

Phantom CameraPhantom Camera

$15.00 paper | 74 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936970-13-1
Publication Date: March 2013
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Winner of the 2012 Green Rose Prize

As full of candor and ontological inquiry as they are of verve, panache, and wit, the poems in Bolina’s second collection stretch and dilate, in order to, as the author puts it, “feel so attached—like a ligament—to the whole shebang of human experience.”
           —Publishers Weekly

...a veritable tidal wave of verse, lines spilling forth propulsively and carrying with them keen observation of the everyday...sophisticated but eminently embraceable, a tip-off of what’s to come.
           —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

Jaswinder Bolina's second book of poetry is a stunning performance, as beautiful, accomplished, and memorable as any volume of poetry I've had the pleasure of reading. Arriving at the last poem in this fine work, all I could feel was a hunger for more, and the deepest gratitude for Bolina's rare intellectual and artistic gifts.
            —Charles Johnson

Phantom Camera searches for ways to escape the traps of autobiographical self-absorption while retaining the warmth and energy of personal narrative.  Bolina's speakers are often melancholy and estranged, yet charmingly ironic about their estrangement.  Drama—both funny and touching—arises from their efforts to stay safe while longing for human connection.
            —Mark Halliday

“I understand how near you are to the tipping. I understand how the sensation is of moving very quickly as if along a high scaffolding where the danger is in becoming too conscious of the easy, animal rhythms of walking. You’re trying not to over-think it and you’re trying not to not think of it either.”  Addressing us from “this precise moment in America” at which “the nation is a hallway all vanishing point no conclusion,” Bolina proves to be a virtuoso at ontological standup comedy—or is it elegy?—as his lyric riffs hit “the crease in [the] brain where the self accumulates.” These are poems that will retain their intensity unto many re-readings.
            —Claire Bateman


My Face Instead of the Virgin Mary

In an oxidation stain beneath the freeway overpass
and in a smudge of oil on the window pane

and in the scorched surface of a slice of toast,
my face instead of the Virgin Mary.

My face in Lourdes and in Clearwater
and in Finca Betania.

The sun is not a rose.

Red helmet of evening,
the sky is not a cornea.

My plain face instead of the Virgin Mary
unable to relieve or to heal you.

The constellation above me
is winking beacons of the radio relay tower.

The constellation beside me is the fizz
in a ginger ale catching some light.

What appears cradled in my arms
is only a loaf of rye.

Why would you tell me the things that hurt you?