Amoretti / Billie Chernicoff
An old chest. Rosewood. No, camphor, aromatic, intricately carved, scenes from some fairy tale -- maiden tames fierce beast. Something you simply happen upon. Its contents stunning, treasure, garlands of pearls, gold coins, taffeta, rubies, emeralds, silks, velvets, musk, maybe even tweed. Dip your hands into it, bury your face in what’s lifted up, then spills back down through your fingers. Thus, the crisp, sweet language of Amoretti itself cascades, a gorgeous, elegant, yet fierce and precise, consistent delimitation. These poor words of mine lack all the beauty and subtlety of the poems they try so hard to tell you about, give you news of. Luscious and carnal, not a wrong note. Sterling music. Billie Chernicoff’s work surveys then traces a path through the garden of itself, never fumbles describing its captivities therein: animal, mineral, vegetal, angelic. Her rhetoric is flawless. Deceptively delicate, its vocabulary surprises. Just as the nuance of feeling remains absolute yet immediate. — Thomas Meyer
For our words touch things (they do!) and, touching them, unbind this world. But nowhere, least of all in Billie’s poetry, is this unbinding any sort of loss. She has said “alkahest” stronger than anyone has, and has freed this world into our being, our measuring, our range we discover as we read her—how far and how near we can be in her spiritual sight.
Meanwhile Billie waits with Solomon in her arms, waits a while under a native cedar, trusting all things, trees and you. She trusts the word, writes one, and allows this one, properly, all of the time in this world. She trusts the word and, when it is time, I am amazed to say, it praises her with its own completed silence. Then silence honors her with another word, this one, a sheaf of the world to come. — Joel Newberger