MadHat Press

Pierced by Night-Colored Threads by Dean Kostos

Pierced by Night-Colored Threads

Dean Kostos writes the poetry of ‘life’s mathematical string—untying, uniting me.’ That spooling and unspooling of the various threads of our lives, our DNA code binding us and unhinging us all at once is the fabric of this wonderful book. Kostos writes of the burning sky and us, examining our potential for flight, pen in hand.

Kate Gale, Managing Editor of Red Hen Press, author of The Goldilocks Zone, winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Award


Dean Kostos is a poet for whom a formal imagistic stance offers harsh truths and some solace. In conversation with Emily Dickinson, Neruda, his neighbors, western civilization, he holds his own. Pierced by Night-Colored Threads continues this intense and complicated investigation of how the West in its beauty and brutality continues to shape our destiny. He makes each of us look again at those we admire or the ideas we question. And with phrases like ‘Mystic / opulence exceeds,’ we see a poet who claims justice and awe. It is an amazing achievement.

Patricia Spears Jones, Author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems


Like the exiled poet Neruda, on whom he bestows the title ‘ambassador of questions without answers,’ who ‘found residence in language,’ Kostos, too, is omnilegent, an  intersectionalist of the first order: he’s read a lot and is endlessly curious, his astonishing range of interests manifest in a glance at just a few of the poems’ epigraphs: after Devil Dog, oil on canvas by Melinda Hackett; From the early life of Milton H. Erickson, M.D., the father of modern hypnotherapy, who pioneered the technique of Indirect Suggestion; after Vermeer (and Donatello, among others); A great deal of beauty is rapture—Keith Haring; Every photograph is a certificate of presence—Roland Barthes. Even more astonishing is the depth of his inquiries, and his mastery of the poetical forms that express them, their beauty: ‘Questions without answers,’ yes, and there’s the pleasure. It’s as if, in Pierced by Night-Colored Threads, one has found somehow in one’s possession a (wildly smart) detective’s notebook full of mysterious descriptions, hypotheses about a crime not quite discernible, that form and inform poems that intrigue and delight, page after page. Poems one reads and feels one’s head brimming with allusions, ears perking, ensorcelled.

Daniel Lawless, founder and editor of Plume Poetry


I deeply appreciate the construction of this collection, its intricate and colorful threading, as it is brilliantly named. The poems themselves intertwine and play off each other in an accomplished way, intertextual, informed. The play of future, present, and past evokes a braid of richness in these poems that I admire, and I am always impressed by this author’s depth of vocabulary. Truly, as his own poem ‘In Translation’ illuminates, ‘Translators inhale breath from line breaks, / articulate gaps & / conjure words from a face pressed into absence. // Writers transcribe / the eye color of one / never seen again.’ To me, this is the essential art of any writer. If you like books of poetry whose sum is far greater than its component parts, you’ll want this book. I remain grateful for the art of Dean Kostos, the literary home he weaves together, and welcome this new collection.

Nicholas Samaras, Yale Series of Younger Poets Award winner, author of American Psalm, World Psalm


Review at the Journal for Poetics Research:

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Madhat, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-941196-49-6
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