Open the Dark by Marie Tozier
Open the Dark
Poetry by Marie Tozier
Marie Tozier’s poems weave together the ebb and flow of land, sea, and time to evoke the vibrant scent and taste of Inupiaq Alaska.
Marie Tozier’s Open the Dark is an exquisite collection of poems depicting a generational tapestry woven with the shared ebb and flow of land and sea and time. Loving hands, dyed sweet with raspberries and lingonberries, pass ancestral knowledge—of the hunt for seal and crab to pressing ironless, ruler-straight seams—from grandmother to mother, mother to daughter. This is a collection that beckons, like a mother’s warm embrace, into the vibrant scent and taste of Inupiaq Alaska.
“A sure sense of emplacement might be one of the most elusive and valuable qualities a poet can embody. Marie Tozier’s first book of poems clearly is emplaced in family, community, geography, history, and the seasonality of animals and plants in Western Alaska. An echo of Lorine Niedecker’s limpid trust in the truths of the physical world and the rage and sorrow of Layli Long Soldier’s work against the harm of cultural silencing rings through Open the Dark. Trust this direct, clear voice. Open yourself.”—Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Toward Antarctica
"Open the Dark is a book of understated lyric power. The traditional narratives of love and loss, which give us the lyric, are here taking place in a setting and among a people only recently making their way into the American canon. The low landscape of the north, with its arduously gathered gifts of subsistence, birds egg, berries, seals and mammals, the preciousness of sweetness , the implacable demand to labor, add an acute dimension to our usual scenes of love and family. Tozier’s naturally gifted lyric voice, soft-spoken, as is her tradition, conveys unforgettably a culture of steep intergenerational knowledge and honor, as well as its swift losses."—Linda McCarriston, author of Talking Soft Dutch and Little River: New and Selected Poems
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Tozier is an Inupiaq poet whose work has been published in Yellow Medicine Review and Cirque. During her low-residency MFA at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Tozier focused on identity in poetry. As a staff member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, she took part in the Robert Wood Johnson Global Solutions Partnership, which allowed Tozier to visit Aotearoa (New Zealand) and learn about Māori education and culture. She also appeared on an episode of the U.S. version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? in October 2000. She was the first Alaskan contestant to make it past the Fastest Finger Question and to play in the hot seat. Tozier lives in Anchorage with her husband, seven children, and three huskies.