Semi-finalist in FLP’s 2021 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition
In The Sight of Invisible Longing, Elya Braden unfurls a powerful tapestry and evocation of the depth and polarities of the human psyche… Braden’s language is musical, brave, and incantatory on this empathic journey of love, grief, and loss. The poems task difficult subjects, maternal inadequacies, and the tangled consequences of our yearnings.
~Cynthia Atkins, author of Still-Life with God
In The Sight of Invisible Longing, Elya Braden draws us—heart, bone, and breath—into a life of harrowing and hallowed arcs, carrying us through each dark night of the soul with rigorous poems of insight and grace.
~Michelle Bitting, winner of the DeNovo, Sacramento Poetry Center, Catamaran, and Wilder book prizes, including Nightmares & Miracles 2022
Elya Braden is an astonishing poet, and this new collection of ten, linked poems based on Rilke’s Duino Elegies is proof. Illustrated by Braden’s powerful art, these poems both awe and devastate as they chronicle the poet’s transformation from destruction into power.
~Alexis Rhone Fancher, author of EROTIC: New & Selected, poetry editor, Cultural Daily.
In The Sight of Invisible Longing, we encounter the remaking of the self after severance—what happens, in this case, when a woman, long-coupled, uncouples and finds herself at sea.… All of this, too, to describe what it takes and where one must go to construct a new self after the loss of intimate identifiers like wife and mother.
~Sonia Greenfield, author of Letdown
poems from the sight of invisible longing
from "Blood and Bone/Family Dinner the Night Before You Move Out"
“A mother, riven from her children, may dream
of heights and flight, her midnight hair
already climbing Death’s gaunt arm.
Let the sigh of the doe remind you
of life's sweet breath.”
from "The Sight of Invisible Longing/You Wake, Alone in Your New Apartment, Knowing Your Children Are Home with Their Dad"
“Look up! See all the absence the sky carries
in her blue rucksack. Each robin sings
her own Psalm. Even the mockingbird
enters in his own measure.
Haven’t you, like Jacob, dreamed
a ladder reaching up to Heaven, …”
from "The Virgin’s Promise/You Give Your Crush from Acting Class a Second Chance After He Stands You Up"
“Ruby-leathered child of Aphrodite,
femininity revealed in her darkening blush,
the spilling of her uncountable seeds.
She is suckle, stain, pillage, curse. Daughter’s
temptation, mother’s agony, promise of spring.”
from "Sea of Lamentation/You Return to Seattle to Celebrate Chanukah Alone"
“You wake to Seattle, your city of salt, the sky
a canvas of perpetual mourning, clouds fisting
above your head, turning day into night,
night into unseeing, the stars obliterated,
the moon exiled to a great beyond.”
Chosen as Sundress Publications' The Wardrobe's Best Dressed January 2022
Open The Fist is a powerful collection of poems about truth-telling, violation, and healing. Elya Braden’s magnificent and piercing poems speak directly to the heart.
—Laura Davis, author of The Courage to Heal and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again
These stunning poems by Elya Braden are both brutal and tender... elevating the spirit through the portals of redemption. Touching and evocative, sad and exhilarating, majestic and magical, these poems capture with perfect imagery and feeling the trajectory innocence takes on its way toward adulthood.
—Jack Grapes, author of Last of the Outsiders: Collected Poems
Elya Braden’s poems are daring, tender and utterly trustworthy. Each is a summons, through language irresistibly sensuous and enthralling, into a moment we, too, may have experienced but most probably ignored. ...these poems are a testimony to the healing power of telling the truth, and the artistry of each makes her healing our healing.
—Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words
In this vibrant first collection, Braden uses poetry as a shovel and a sifter to excavate and understand what lives in her haunted body... The result is a collection of poems both terrible and tender, in which she grapples with the primal impulses of family, sexuality, and what it means to be born a girl, to survive into womanhood, and to look back.
—Tresha Faye Haefner, Author of Take This Longing (Finishing Line Press), Founder of The Poetry Salon