Dani Couture’s latest poems are transmissions that travel across the cosmos and the spaces we live in, as well as within the more intimate distances we navigate between one another. Distances we hope to bridge with contact, often to profound or disastrous effects. With language rooted in science, sociology, memoir and aesthetics, she questions the limits of our bodies, both human and celestial. Like the subtle cues we lend one another and the hopeful messages we send into deep space, these poems broadcast our greatest aspirations and vulnerabilities.
“A deft collage of syntactical fragments, the title poem of Listen Before Transmit foregrounds the principles of uncertainty, estrangement and disconnection that underlie the haunting mindscapes of this book. But there is also a countermusic in the book that strengthens the hold these poems gain over the reader, a music enacting the human search – however fraught, even risible – for connection and coherence in an indifferent universe. In ‘Minus Time’ both movements are manifest: ‘Who were you when you understood the sun / was simply a star? That you, in part / were made / of collapse. You, smallest sun.’ Couture’s questing figures probe galaxies within and without, in the process enmeshing us in the excitement and risk of both sorts of journey. Spend time with this book. Agile in its management of form, intellectually and emotionally nuanced, it will repay you with riches.” – Mary Dalton, author of Edge: Essays, Reviews, Interviews
“Equal parts generous and curious, Dani Couture’sListen Before Transmit is born from the tender space where history ends and the future begins. These beautifully crafted poems place hunger and joy beneath a microscope, attuning the reader to what is magnified there . . . Listen Before Transmit opens the skies for us, demanding we ask more from the science fictive statics our bodies swim inside. Imagine the stars looking down at us when we look up at them: in this intimate and daring book, they do.” – Jessica Rae Bergamino, author of The Desiring Object or Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them