Cover Photo: A photograph of Niina Pollari, the poet, on the left. She has straight blonde hair and is smiling slightly at the camera. A vertical yellow line runs down the center of the photo. On the right side, against a taupe background, are the words "Path of Totality: Poems. Niina Pollari."
Book cover via Catapult; photograph by Jack Sorokin

“Path of Totality”: A Poetry Reading by Niina Pollari

Niina Pollari reads the title poem from her new collection published by Soft Skull Press

The poem in the video is the title poem from my new book. The path of totality is a term for the shadow zone created by the moon obscuring the sun during a total solar eclipse, like the one I witnessed in 2017. That eclipse was the most shockingly beautiful thing I had ever seen until the day I saw my daughter Lumi.

After she died, I had no words; it was like I was no longer a thinking animal. But the days kept coming, mornings and dusks and nights, and I kept existing, and eventually the words returned and started turning into poems. This writing of poems had nothing to do with my desire to write; I wanted least of all to get up and turn my daughter into a narrative. But my personal flaw is that I describe things for other people to read, and that's how I link with the world. So this book is my attempt to convey the enormity of my daughters impact on me, and on my life, during the brief time Ive been given to stomp around on this earth.



Path of Totality

Something set you into motion. A chain of events. Rain falling into a series of cups on a chain, then into a small yard where a small ecosystem drinks it.

Niina Pollari is a poet and Finnish translator currently located in Western North Carolina. She is the author of the poetry collections Path of Totality (Soft Skull 2022) and Dead Horse (Birds, LLC 2015), as well as the co-author of the split chapbook Total Mood Killer (Tiger Bee Press 2017). Find her on Twitter at @heartbarf.