Nights on the Line
by M.S. Evans
"Evans offers us a living, authentic vision of a life’s journey like few others; this beautifully-crafted debut is a gleaming thread through the old map of the imagist landscape."
We're delighted to announce the publication of Nights on the Line by Montana-based poet, M.S. Evans. This is our second individual collection after Dai Fry's Under Photon Crowns (2021) and M.S. Evans's first book.
Nights on the Line is a full collection of poems and poetic prose, with a cover image by distinguished artist, Kit Boyd. It captures life on the road as a woman, hopping trains, sleeping out in the wild, the realities of working in male environments and the difficulties of life on the streets in cities across North America. These vivid, authentic poems are truly immersive, taking the reader to those places, people and environments, from the Pushcart-prize nominated writer, also an editor at Icefloe Press.
Nights on the Line is available on Amazon, worldwide. Why not also buy a copy for a friend or family member to support our press and this poet? As a small press with a big heart, we are also very grateful for reviews on social media, Amazon and Goodreads and interested in features and interviews so please contact Matthew M. C. Smith at blackboughpoetry(at)outlook.com with any queries.
Advanced reviews for Nights on the Line
"One of the most poised and precise collections I’ve read in a long time, Evans writes with such authenticity and raw emotion that you cannot help but feel gripped from the first poem to the last. Fantastic, trail-blazing writing"
"Evans has lived an extraordinary life, and this is an extraordinary debut. In this sharp-boned collection, she offers grit and glitter; fallen-star moments prised from the cold stones of every hard road she has travelled, each turn seeming determined to make a blade of her. It is her poetry that became the razor; the honed elegance of her language, her mirror-clear juxtapositions of the very human and natural-divine awe, shine like a train-cut penny. From her nights literally on the line, where ‘Tops of telephone poles whipped past, backlit by the Milky Way; so beautiful I cried’ to her time unhoused, ‘My softness wrapped in copper wire’, to her activism, ancestry, aloneness and connection with other sojourners, each glimpse into her world is a secret door cracking open, and to step into the small spaces of her lines promises world-opening escapes, parallel to her own.
One might expect a life carved from such hardness to diminish even a fierce spirit, but every poem in this collection pushes against restriction and in the end, spills soft light fit to weep. Evans has hewn space for herself that allows for what persists inside her —Each of us has roses in our throats / I will harvest mine— to flourish on the roadside verges; and her stunningly clear voice will wild the hills of modern imagistic poetry, to their great gain, for time to come.
Distilled, shimmering imagery – this debut shines like the clear miracle of mirage rising above the rails, a dazzling invitation to see far more than just the prescribed destination. Evans offers us a living, authentic vision of a life’s journey like few others; this beautifully-crafted debut is a gleaming thread through the old map of the imagist landscape."
Author of The Water Engine
Co-editor Ice Floe Press
Poetry Contributing Editor Barren Magazine
Montana poet M.S. Evans, in her first book, Nights on the Line, composed of short, thematically interlinked, image-filled poems, visually compelling, compiles a poetics of searching, her voice embodying plangent song unfolding in prescient dream-form. Unfurling a highway warrior’s code, she proclaims, “My gender is outlaw; fixed blade.”
Compelling in details, magical and intuitive, these are poems of witness, luminous, sensitive, tactile. Poems trace childhood memories to the present; memorial notes evoke and explore loss, and situate epiphany in both anger and hope, a work of tenderest temerities and necessary, red-hot rage. The ghosts of intergenerational memories merge with nature, carving stories from the rocks, rivers, the wooden houses of immigrants, the whispering ecologies of forests and trees, whether inside rooms, outside windows or along continental rail lines.
A wanderer on a quest, Evans's poems are set in urban enclaves, homeless encampments, rail yards; they too often detail an accretion of encounters with toxic men, whether on the road, in inner cities, or on job sites. Her sensibilities trace histories of migrant communities and family narratives through a landscape of emerging industrial settings, assimilation, and stagnant economies. The deadening of hope is a precursor to the foment of urban insurrection and class struggle, alienation spinning on a razor blade. Hers is a radical metaphysics. She startles the reader, proclaiming, “each of us has roses in our throats/I will harvest mine;”. In “Moon Flesh”, a key poem, her homage to a foremother-mentor evokes a feminist pantheon of ‘gods’, asking why they must leave ‘us’, yet their passage out of this life, one beyond possessions, is promise of both sorrow and philosophic freedom, suggesting a possible emergent touchstone.
In the breadth of its positional landscapes, this book is one of persistent imagining, a work of a traveler-poet who carries us beyond the reach of living with our settled acceptance of ‘what is’. A classic.
Robert Frede Kenter, author of EDEN, a hybrid (floodlight editions, 2021); publisher of Ice Floe Press: www.icefloepress.net