You Envelop Me

landscape painting

Laynie Browne




“Laynie Browne’s You Envelop Me, written in the tradition of elegy, attempts to come to terms with the continuing presence of absence. The work calls to mind the recent work of Susan Howe (This That) and Cole Swensen (Gravesend) as Browne locates the departed as motion, a wave, birdlike. Mourning in these captivating poems becomes its own birth — a birth where death engenders new life, and changes the terms of what it means to be alive inside grief, within a word, in this world.” — Claudia Rankine


“Laynie Browne writes the heart of something, then exceeds this heart to write a complicated soul, both ‘concentration and praise.’ I want to find a language that resembles both nourishment and the interior life to describe the feeling I had at the end of reading. At the beginning of reading, I oriented with curiosity to the ‘interim russet,’ the way that ‘form and color’ are ‘synonymous,’ both interregnum and ‘passage.’ Is a book a gate? You Envelop Me keeps opening to the space below gardens and before rivers. I kept walking (reading) until I reached the water, a remedy, a sparkling egg.” — Bhanu Kapil


“Laynie Browne’s You Envelop Me invites me into its dreamery — both the stuff of dreams & the place where dreams are made. ‘How long can this go on, her knowing everything?’ As long as I read & re-read. We read these poems & see Browne’s brilliant mind at work — the song & the psalm of thought, of mourning, of living, of divination, of figuring out. ‘We sleep prone, like / explosives closely fitted.’ You Envelop Me is in an intimate space. In this space sometimes there is a silence — in which some people arrive & others leave, in which some wait for others who will not return, in which some wait to arrive & depart & these are the same for a moment. Browne’s language is in & of that silence, disrupting & respecting it, scoring it. The music of mourning is a beautiful kind of music. We must remember that. Browne’s book is thoughtful, elegaic, musical, & urgent.” — Pattie McCarthy