Steve Dalachinsky

Where Night and Day Become One

The French Poems

Silver Award-Winner, 31st Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards in Poetry


Celebrated avant-jazz poet Steve Dalachinsky assembles more than thirty years of writing journals from his trips to Paris in Where Night and Day Become One. His contemplative experimental verse reflects the City of Light in boulevard rain puddles rippling with the sounds of gallery improvisation, is haunted by his ancient graveyard wanderings. In his subconscious musings, he repeats words and phrases, pulling at and twisting them as he considers the legacy of hundreds of years of expatriate art and his own unresolved past left behind in New York. With praise from Clark Coolidge, this is a career-embracing retrospective that decisively stakes a claim for Dalachinsky's greatness.

Learn more about Steve Dalachinsky in this 2016 interview at AM FM Magazine and this 2007 personal essay.

Steve Dalachinsky passed away on September 16, 2019. Where Night and Day Become One: The French Poems was his final full-length collection. It was a true honor and a deeply inspiring experience to work with him so closely on this book.

Hail to a Wondrous Flow:
de Beauvoir
sometimes Matisse
the multi-century mystery
of Paris tracing the
Enormitude of Multiplicity
May Steve Dalachinsky’s lyre
never cease.

—  Ed Sanders, poet, author, historian, co-founder of The Fugs

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MORE PRAISE FOR Where Night and Day Become One

What colors the poems in where night and day become one is the knowledge of the style and technique of the French avant-garde. Though Dalachinsky states in “Trust Fund Babies'” if only i could discipline myself learn teachnique… he is very well aware of the techniques of surrealism. His breath of knowledge, and ability to control it to achieve his own ends, is comparable to John Ashbery’s prowess at transmuting the mode of the continental European vanguard of literature into an American vernacular. Dalachinsky is at ease in the mind and artistic forms of the likes of such diverse geniuses as Apollinaire and Satie and he is able to use this knowledge for the building of his particular technique…where night and day become one is a masterful look at how the foreign environment enriches the exile’s mind and illuminates the native returned. Steve Dalachinsky’s Americanisms, free jazz linguistic resonance, New York lyricism and the weight and wealth of his Jewish heritage are all brought into a higher focus after his time spent in France. As Dalachinsky states at the end of “digressions 1 & 2”

hey – I am the first man. i told you that the trip would be a short one. i’ll get over it.
everybody’s bubble bursts eventually. just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
ah but even w/its short life. short temper. its longwinded shortness of breath.
looking out the window @ the young man’s face i suddenly for the first time
i’d rather be american        (or wood eye?)

— John Greiner, Empty Mirror


This is free jazz & “bop prosody” in the city of Bresson and Soupault’s Champs Magnetique. It’s Paris in the key of pigeon shit and Corot skies...No wonder Dalachinsky was honored with a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. WOW!
— Janet Hamill, Galatea Resurrects


S.D. unacknowledged master of the ever-elusive jazz poem, you read him you’ve got to hear him ’cause he’ll wham yor auditorium. The infamous author of “pituie ballons” (Ray Bremser) would love all this. Hey Steve.
 Clark Coolidge, author of "Selected Poems: 1962-1985" and "Now It’s Jazz: Writings on Kerouac & the Sound"


Steve Dalachinsky is one of the great "flâneurs" of our times...Like those other wanderers, the photographers, Steve observes, noses around, senses, waits, to capture an image. Finding a poem even in his Picon Beer, he is also inspired by neighbours seen through windows, pigeons, the smell of cat pee, the sound of musicians...Steve is a poet, a real poet, and in this time of tweets and Trumps it is more urgent than ever to listen to the poets, because, as Steve's friend Ted Joans stated, "you have NOTHING to fear from the poet but the TRUTH". This books contains a few more pages of truth, to be consumed without moderation.
—Gary May, Improjazz Magazine, France, July-August 2018 edition


A spirited collection of poems written during [Dalachinsky’s] many spells in Paris, where night and day become one includes evocative nods to jazz legends, no-nonsense insights into the creative process and lots of off-beat ruminations on the French capital. This is shape-shifting free verse, challenging but often gratifying.
Kevin Canfield, The New York City Jazz Record


Dalachinsky’s doodles and drawings, his multi-dimensional jazz-poetry-collage fusion, offer master techniques of absorbing and creating on-the-spot riffs of profound sadness and joy.
—Valery Oisteanu, Sensitive Skin Magazine


Anaphora, alliteration, assonance, and a variety of other literary devices give this entire collection a solid musical beat. Indeed, the poet is at the top of his game when he employs fun wordplay in lines like “he sits to observe the carnage/carnival of marred possibilities/e-ramble pre-amble/he ambles towards a convenient spot for spying.” Another example is “these collapsing stairs/co-lapsing stares”. What a glorious dissection of words for poetry lovers to snap their fingers to! Where Night and Day Become One is a great journey through Paris to the rhythms that delight and the ideas that inspire.
Benjamin Schmitt, At The Inkwell


Playful, eclectic, spirited but also bitingly critical, the poems in Steve Dalachinsky’s lengthy new collection, Where Night and Day Become One, investigate “parallel paradises/power & persuasion.” The lines splash across the pages, disjointed, rejoining or echoing fragments, symbols, signs, with typographical and font modulations to create multiple sites of entry into the both public and personal issues that this work explores. There is no unidirectional reading of this work, and that is what makes it so fabulously necessary. It grips you and takes you along, tosses you out, draws you back in like a dance of sound, image, thought. I cannot more highly recommend this book. 
—  Jennifer K Dick, author of  "Circuits"


In these poems, set mainly in Paris, Steve Dalachinsky evokes the stark beauty of a nature chronicle in an often funny, always unsettling, urban landscape. There are great flashes of beauty, of boredom, of self-pity and transcendence in this epic travelogue of our times. Dalachinsky has the rare talent of combining language and narrative into a work that succeeds at both. Where Night and Day Become One is a joy to read and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a book to challenge both mind and heart.
 — Maggie Dubris, author of  "Skels" and "Weep Not, My Wanton"


Steve Dalachinsky, longtime poetic presence in the downtown NYC avant scene and no stranger in Paris or wherever jazz is spoken, has expanded the good humor and inventiveness found in such earlier books as The Final Nite. This is experimental poetry laced with prose passages and poetry within the prose. As in the poem “Trust Fund Babies,” this politically charged poetry has a tone of anger appropriate to our times, but the tone is enlivened by language that has a solid feeling for beat, the beat of contemporary jazz and the beat of history. Dalachinsky says, “soon my pen will stop leaking”—let’s hope not. Indirection is the direction, focus and follow-through the method.
—  Barry Wallenstein, author of "Drastic Dislocations"


Dalachinsky is a master of thematic iteration, cubistic digression and peripatetic meditation all of which compose his modus operandi. His musical and emotional motifs repeat themselves across the pages as the enchanted reader follows the poet’s footprints in verse, surprised by the familiar and obscure alike. Previous constructions, reconfigured, reappear. Sometimes brazen, sometimes tucked away like a shifty-eyed statue in a surreal alcove of the city as Dalachinsky’s thought experiments branch out in webs of poet-vision. 
—  Carl Watson, author of "Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming" and "Idylls of Complicity"


Dalachinsky is merciless in his search for poetry, spitting out prose chunks and whirling in typographic tarantellas, summoning Apollinaire to play ringolevio on the graves in Père Lachaise, honing the beat edge of this text that jumps and stutters, infused with misery and jazz, Satie coming through the static of old radios, concierges hobbling over cobblestones, Vichy bitches with shaven heads, Simenonion sex behind ancient wood shutters. It will never have the infernal pulse of Gotham, but Paris stiffens the poetic wick, and Dalachinsky’s clarity shines through a fine claret mist
— Max Blagg, author of  "Slow Dazzle: Poems & Prose for 25 Artists"


[Dalachinsky’s] art of the verse has nothing to do with the kind of pleasing jazz that is a favorite to those secondary school teachers in their dusty and out-dated jazz clubs.  In where night and day become one, Dalachinsky changes from free verse format to concrete poetry or onomatopoetry, scatters words over the pages like the Dadaists in their days, constructs and deconstructs words, uses puns, juggles with names – we encounter Apollinaire, Baudelaire, Cezanne, Goya, Rodin, and others. 
— Jürgen Schneider, L.I.T.


A variegated construct of delight…Dalachinsky’s output has been avant-garde for years and is still aesthetically most provocative today.
—The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow

Steve Dalachinsky, Where Night and Day Become One: The French Poems

Publication date April 2nd 2018


ISBN: 978-0-9981440-3-0


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Poet /collagist Steve Dalachinsky (1946-2019) was born in Brooklyn after the last big war and managed to survive lots of little wars. He was the recipient of an Acker Award for poetry and in 2014 was honored with a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture. Where Night and Day Become One: The French Poems (great weather for MEDIA, 2018) was a silver prizewinner at the 2019 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. In addition, his collection The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. Other books include Fool’s Gold (Feral Press), A Superintendent’s Eyes (Unbearable Books  /Autonomedia), Flying Home (Paris Lit Up) in collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt, The Invisible Ray (Overpass Books) with artwork by Shalom Neuman, Frozen Heatwave (Luna Bisonte Prods) in collaboration with Yuko Otomo, Black Magic (New Feral Press).

Dalachinsky’s audio CDs include The Fallout of Dreams with Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach and ec(H)o-system with the French art-rock group, The Snobs. His most recent release was With Shelter Gone, a limited-edition vinyl LP on the German label Psych.KG.