Winner of the 2014 Trio House Award!
Click here to purchase!
In What the Night Numbered, Tice weaves together a number of narratives. From the mythic to the historical, the collective to the confessional, these are poems that tell a queer story. In this collection, the myth of Cupid and Psyche—their epic account of love discovered, lost, and eventually reunited—is re-envisioned and woven with the accounts of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a series of riots that took place in Greenwich Village and are credited for having jump-started the gay and lesbian civil rights movement. The voices that speak within these poems are those of the oppressed and unnamed, those who live between the traditional categories of sex, gender, and sexuality in a time when the only names given to such individuals were slurs. These are poems of desperate witness, found somewhere off the pages of sanctioned history amid the rumors traded on street corners, written on restroom walls, given word of mouth.
Poems from this collection have appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Crab Creek Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Bluestem, among other publications.
What Other People Have to Say:
“Brad Tice’s What the Night Numbered is a vibrant fresco of a book, portraying the painful and gorgeous stories of Gay Liberation with consummate skill. Tice proves once and for all that formal mastery and sympathetic openness are not opposites, but mutually entailing—twin sources of any art that would respond to the call of necessity. And this is indeed a necessary book. In ‘Psyche’s Third Trial,’ one of Tice’s speakers claims, while writing a letter to his lover, ‘I have this hope // that if I folded the pages tight enough, the pulp / could become a seed. A pit that could // take root in the dirt of those cracks—send out roots, / break apart these streets.’ These muscular, subtle lines make a fine description of Tice’s own superb poems.”
– Peter Campion, author of El Dorado
“Merging the myth of Cupid and Psyche with the events of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that jump-started the gay and lesbian civil rights movement, What the Night Numbered is a masterful collection. In this coming-of-age sequence where sex serves as a pathway to both death and rebirth, Psyche meets others who have hidden their true selves and who are now ready to emerge into the great anonymity of New York. Tice offers a multiplicity of voices to showcase what the merging of poetry and history can achieve. These poems whisper to one another, pull at each other’s hands, and ultimately create their own world within the borders of the written page. A brilliant book.
– Charlotte Pence, author of Many Small Fires
“Myth is history in drag, Bradford Tice reminds us in What the Night Numbered, a seamless novella-in-poems that recasts the Stonewall era as Greek mythology. With the bawdiness of Chaucer and the commitment to character of Browning, Tice conducts an uncanny pageant of empathetic and vividly imagined monologues, each speaker transfigured ‘like the breathing of someone hidden / who wants to be found.’”
– James Shea, author of The Lost Novel
Where to buy:
The poems in Tice’s debut collection reveal a person (a family) in crisis, a person grappling with faith, identity, sexuality, mortality, self-worth. Tice’s first book exorcises the traumas of growing up gay in the backdrop of the Bible Belt and the American South, as the author struggles to understand how families can both heal and harm, sometimes even in the same gesture.
Poems from this collection have appeared in North American Review, Poet Lore, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Chariton Review, among other publications. Selected poems have also appeared in the anthologies Low Explosions: Writings on the Body (Knoxville Writers’ Guild, 2006) and Hawai’i Pacific Review: Best of the Decade 1997-2007.
What Other People Have to Say:
“The title alone here says it all: Rare Earth. This is a volume of poems about memory and place, about self-awarness gathered slowly, painfully, though with exhilaration and gratitude. Yet there is no getting around the fact that these are hard memories and troubled dreams that look without flinching at sex and death, at the vagaries of spiritual growth, at the difficulties of regional mores that seek to dim the soul’s natural light. I would also note that for all the fury and terror that occur in these poems, there is a great beauty as well, as in the glorious “Milkweed” — a poem that sets this volume in motion: ‘Now, standing beside you in the crowded / autumn haze, I watch them flock — emerged from / brittle stalks, bursting upon the world as / you lovers do.’ And there are lovers everywhere in this volume, often just ‘the two of us / seized against sky,’ as in ‘Aubade.’ With courage and clear-eyed determination, this poet walks in ‘the dimmed flicker of history’ and marvels at ‘the miracle of how we go on.’ Bradford Tice is the real thing, a poet to his fingertips, incapable of writing a bad poem but, more importantly, able to bring forth poetry that is astringent, luminous, fresh, and deeply imagined. The talent here is obvious and sobering, and I hope that many readers make their way to these pages.”
–Jay Parini, author of The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems and The Last Station
“I have admired Brad Tice’s poetry for more than a decade, and this generous collection brings together some of his best work. Here we find a perfect balance of craft and daring, of father-images and those of the maternal lineage. The poems cup strong emotion, with no spillage. The lines are both intimate and mythic, and though the title speaks of “Rare Earth”, one thinks more often of fire–as each poem creates a conflagration of emotion, intellect, and sensory images. Narratives of divorce speak honestly of sadness, loss, brokenness. The images of metals and welding lead us toward healing songs, to occult imagery of alchemy and initiatory rituals. We are taken by our contemporary Virgil, Brad Tice, into the difficult world of true poetry, where images and lines gleam like burnished metal, like Yeat’s golden bird.
This is one of the best poetry books I have read in years, and one of the few that has really moved me. I plan to use it in my poetry classes.”
–Marilyn Kallet, author of Packing Light: New and Selected Poems
“These poems are illuminated by discoveries—of the natural world, the mineral world, the psychic world—the worlds of identity inside us all, haunted as we are by devils who ask us to take another look at all we hold sacred. With these poems, Tice has learned to see these worlds clearly and sometimes painfully, and to ask the toughest of questions about them. A brilliant, vivid first book.”
–Arthur Smith, author of The Fortunate Era
“These poems have caught the devil’s eye—several devils, in fact, from Beelzebub to Lucifer, all shedding their exoskeletons and running headlong into the abyss—and it takes a skillful poet to translate their howls before his song splinters in his throat. Brad Tice knows even devils can feel regret. What he knows of metal can be “summed in the hard symmetry” of his father’s grasp; what he knows of love lies muddied in a field, seeking transmutation, a rusted heart turned to silver. These are poems of mystery, memory, longing, and of the price one pays in order to love in a world so often taken by siege.”
–Meg Kearney, author of Home by Now
This brilliant collection, edited by the award-winning and perennially provocative Salman Rushdie, boasts a “magnificent array” (Library Journal) of voices both new and recognized. With Rushdie at the helm, the 2008 edition “reflects the variety of substance and style and the consistent quality that readers have come to expect” (Publishers Weekly).
“We all live in and with and by stories, every day, whoever and wherever we are. The freedom to tell each other the stories of ourselves, to retell the stories of our culture and beliefs, is profoundly connected to the larger subject of freedom itself.” —Salman Rushdie, editor