Earth, Milky Way: punctum books, 2024. 96 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1-68571-164-1. DOI: 10.53288/0478.1.00. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $21.00 in print: paperbound/5 X 8 in.

The Presence of Absence: Meditations on the Unsayable in Writing

The Presence of Absence: Meditations on the Unsayable in Writing is about writers navigating the unspeakable through image, sound, and structure. Each chapter focuses on a specific text, exploring the ways that four writers look to visual and auditory materials and metaphors as passageways to understanding and expressing the ineffable qualities of relationships, identity, and grief. Through gorgeously slow and close readings, Rogers explores absence and excess, fragmentation and translation, and — above all — the push and pull between presence and absence, with absence carrying as much significance as presence (and sometimes more).

The Presence of Absence crosses languages and disciplines, working in French and English across poetry, photography, history, and literary theory. Through investigations of Nox by Anne Carson, Quelque chose noir by Jacques Roubaud, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman, and Le livre des questions by Edmond Jabès, Rogers explores various truths — about loss but also about knowledge, beauty, even higher education — that are difficult to articulate and yet resonate deeply with lived experience.