Open the Dark

Marie Tozier’s Open the Dark is an exquisite collection of poems depicting a generational tapestry woven with the shared ebb and flow of land and sea and time. Loving hands, dyed sweet with raspberries and lingonberries, pass ancestral knowledge—of the hunt for seal and crab to pressing ironless, ruler-straight seams—from grandmother to mother, mother to daughter. This is a collection that beckons, like a mother’s warm embrace, into the vibrant scent and taste of Inupiaq Alaska.


“A sure sense of emplacement might be one of the most elusive and valuable qualities a poet can embody. Marie Tozier’s first book of poems clearly is emplaced in family, community, geography, history, and the seasonality of animals and plants in Western Alaska. An echo of Lorine Niedecker’s limpid trust in the truths of the physical world and the rage and sorrow of Layli Long Soldier’s work against the harm of cultural silencing rings through Open the Dark. Trust this direct, clear voice. Open yourself.”—Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Toward Antarctica

“Open the Dark is a book of understated lyric power. The traditional narratives of love and loss, which give us the lyric, are here taking place in a setting and among a people only recently making their way into the American canon. The low landscape of the north, with its arduously gathered gifts of subsistence, birds egg, berries, seals and mammals, the preciousness of sweetness, the implacable demand to labor, add an acute dimension to our usual scenes of love and family. Tozier’s naturally gifted lyric voice, soft-spoken, as is her tradition, conveys unforgettably a culture of steep intergenerational knowledge and honor, as well as its swift losses.”—Linda McCarriston, author of Talking Soft Dutch and Little River: New and Selected Poems

A coffee and tea stained brown background with brown text on top that reads Open The Dark poems by Marie Tozier.

Marie Tozier

Publication Date: August 11, 2020

Genre/Imprint: Boreal Books, Poetry

$15.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-920-2



OPEN THE DARK by Marie Tozier reviewed on!

Alaskan Inupiaq poet Marie Tozier’s new collection Open the Dark challenges—but also aligns with—western notions of linear time. Early on, the collection announces a cyclic, wheeling view of time as it unfolds […]

Review: Open the Dark by Marie Tozier

Marie Tozier’s new book, Open the Dark, is a lyrical guide to the life in Northwest Alaska experienced by the Iñupiaq poet and her family. It touches on themes that can be […]