The Visible Planets is a celebration and a eulogy of galactic proportions. Simultaneously an exploration of universal joy and the mourning of a lost sister, Aly Pierce’s The Visible Planets is a reminder of all the beauty in this fleeting life. Utilizing the cosmos and its celestial bodies, Pierce exposes the juxtaposing starlight and black holes inherent in every human. Along the way, the reader meets a colorful cast of characters (including Jupiter, Neptune, Mars, and Phobos) who each have their own flaws, insecurities, and desires, as do all bodies in this universe. The Visible Planetsrequests that the reader love as deeply as they can while they have the time and space because eventually every star must fade no matter how bright it is.
Praise for The Visible Planets
“Space can be a cold abyss, or it can be a tender darkness where we remake what haunts us. “It’s hard to make progress/with old science” but I dare you to tell me Aly Pierce’s poems don’t draw on all the former stories told about the stars to make a new cosmos where every planet or moon is a person we know intimately. These poems circle the unknown until we recognize it as already part of us. I read them & feel smaller than I realized I was, but what a gift to find the known universe granular as it travels through Pierce's lens, at once exploding & perfected by attention. Here, the vocabulary of particle physics, of math, of medicine, of humility, of grief, of orbit, is a limitless love language we all have in common.”
-Emily O’Neill, author of a falling knife has no handle
“Aly Pierce’s The Visible Planets is filled with abstractions and formulas informing unanswerable questions. Ambitious, cinematic in scope, it takes in the big picture and makes it personal. This ambitious debut personifies telescopes and stars, planets and the specifics of the universe, helping us approach the “dimensionless" lives of our loved ones. The poems here are fresh lenses that allow the reader to follow Pierce as she seeks to make sense of the world, then enriches it with an awareness of its beauty and surreality.”
-Jill McDonough, author of Habeas Corpus, Here All Night, Reaper, and Where You Live
“Aly Pierce's wondrous collection fittingly begins by considering new ways to look at the Hubble telescope, a tool we use for looking out into space. And with these poems that turn our gaze towards to the moons, planets, and stars that seem so far away, Pierce dares us to look at these distant wonders in a new way, as characters in our own lives—each with their own romances, sloppy nights, and heartbreaks.”
-Bob Sykora, author of I was Talking about Love—You are Talking about Geography