Lacunae, Daniel Nadler’s debut collection, is an exercise in poetics of vital import. In it, Nadler imagines himself into those moments of unintelligibility—blank spaces in time—where constraint and expansion coincide. When faced with such ellipses, like where a few decisive hieroglyphs have worn off a wall, he infers and reconstructs the flora, fauna, and pleasures of an ancient world.
“Like the wind that gusts coastal pines toward the water / sleep bends me toward my lover / and I cannot drink from her”: Nadler’s is a project of constant negotiation, one that bends his poems into new shapes. He attends to an impulse of restoration and conservation, in turns. From this tension arises verse of searing simplicity and clarity of vision, imbued with that trembling quality of new life: “luminous and half-naked.” Lacunae, deeply felt and gnomically wise, dares to pave a poetic landscape all its own, the work of a remarkable new poet with enormous ambition and ability.
"A striking debut by Daniel Nadler . . . tight, haikulike [sic] meditations that can be entered at almost any point in the sequence . . . Everything feels ephemeral and timeless—like the moon that 'has gone farming at night/ in the soil of your dreams'—as if this book has hit a reset button to help readers discover poetry anew."—Elizabeth Lund, The Washington Post
"Daniel Nadler's poems unfailingly capture the sense of looking on the world as if for the first time, fusing inner and outer, emotion and sense-data, as one feels when falling in love or, as Keats would have it, on first reading Homer."—Ange Mlinko, The Nation
"Perhaps the most soothing manuscript of the past year . . . Poems that feel less like lyrics than incantations for a trance-like state . . . The result is a dream-inducing exercise in imagism that Ezra Pound would be impressed by."—Mina Tavakoli, NPR
“A poet of unusual focus, ambition, and ability.”—Timothy Donnelly, Boston Review
“These delicate poems sing of the natural world and the fever of love. They seem to be made with a sewing needle and have a magical freshness.”—Henri Cole