Feature: Poetry Collection, ‘The Cartographer’s Ink’ by Okla Elliott


“I wouldn’t call it nostalgia, which is a longing for a past (real or imaginary), but rather a mapping of memory in all its manifestations.”

~ Okla Elliott

Read the interview with Okla Elliott in


“I want something of Norman Mailer’s existential excess in literature. I want “one million nights of apocalyptic lust.” But I also want those things to have form.”

~ Okla Elliott

Read the interview with Okla Elliott in the Huffington Post


Title: The Cartographer’s Ink

Author: Okla Elliott

Publisher: NYQ Books

Year of Publication: (August 25, 2014)

Where to get it from:

This collection will take you on a roller coaster ride over philosophical nuggets, political landscapes, literary references and personal experiences. It is clear that the author, an Illinois Distinguished Fellow at the University of Illinois, is well-read. Elliott’s collection reminded me of Albert Goldbarth’s poetry, and I adore Goldbarth.  The Cartographer’s Ink is a deep, multilayered poetry book that doesn’t substitute real human connection with erudition.

The Huffington Post interview includes two poems: “In the Days of New Wonder” and “The Inside Bird.”

My favorite poems, which are longer than the ones cited above, are “Lucid Bodies” and “Pointless Movement.”


My favorite lines from “Lucid Bodies”:

“And thus are we divided:

into those who fall down and form a shining star

and those who coalesce into dark planets. Or:

the brightest among us began as dull glows

muffled under the soot of circumstance

until their fall-then-rise

like the morning star …”


My favorite lines from “Pointless Movement”:

You are my brazen pomegranate, I didn’t say, more enticing

than any worn-tunneled apple of myth.

Your silence was bogus. My silence — no, I owned no silence,

but I was bogus nonetheless.

Our patterned selves, playing at being ourselves,

non-coextensive concepts — me and I, you and you.”


oklaelliotWhere to get it from:

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