Format Hardcover
Publication Date 04/02/24
ISBN 9781639365692
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 448

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Still As Bright

An Illuminating History of the Moon, from Antiquity to Tomorrow

Christopher Cokinos

An immersive exploration of the nightly presence that has captured our imagination for the entirety of human history.

"When the Moon rises between buildings or over trees, it’s not just a beautiful light: It’s an archive of human longing, fear and adventure. The Moon is more than a rock. It’s a story.”

In the luminously told Still As Bright, the story of the Moon traverses time and space, rendering a range of human experiences—from the beliefs of ancient cultures to the science of Galileo’s telescopic discoveries, from the obsessions of colorful 19th century “selenographers” to the astronauts of Apollo and, now, Artemis.

Still As Bright also traces Cokinos's own lunar pilgrimage. With his backyard telescope, he explores the surface of the Moon, while rooted in places both domestic and wild, and this award-winning poet and writer rediscovers feelings of solace, love and wonder in the midst of loss and change.

Simultaneously steeped in rigorous cultural and scientific history, as well as memoir, Still As Bright is a thoughtful, deeply moving, evergreen natural history. It takes readers on a lyrical journey that spans the human understanding of our closest celestial neighbor, whose multi-faceted appeal has worked on witches, scientists, poets, engineers and even billionaires.

Still As Bright is a must-read for anyone who has ever looked up into the night sky in awe and wonder. Readers will never look at the Moon the same way again.

Christopher Cokinos is the author of The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars and Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds.  MHisy articles, poems and essays about space and astronomy have been published in Sky & Telescope, The Space Review,, SkyNews and the Los Angeles Times, and other works has been featured in NPR’s “All Things Considered,” USA Today, People, Science, The New Yorker, Nature and Michio Kaku’s “Science Fantastic.” He is the receipt of awards and fellowships from Rachel Carson Center in Munich, the Whiting Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the John Burroughs Prize for Best Natural History Essay, the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, and more.  He is a Professor of English at the University of Arizona in their MFA program and lives in hills above Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Mix an amateur astronomer with a poet and a space writer, and you get Christopher Cokinos’ eloquent perspective on the cosmos. Still As Bright explores humanity’s fascination with the Moon, from the revelations of gazing at the lunar surface through a telescope to the crunch of Moon rocks beneath the boots of the Apollo astronauts. This book manages to be both marvelously philosophical and deliciously nerdy, in a wide-ranging stock-take of our celestial neighbor." Alexandra Witze, co-author of Island on Fire
"Still as Bright is a book about humanity's fumbling efforts to understand what the moon is, over thousands of years. It's lyrical, poetic, and infused with a deep love of science. It feels spiritual, wondrous, and transcendent, while also being deeply personal as the author teases out details of the moon's mysteries in the ever-changing light and shadow of his home telescope. It's a beautiful evocation of lunar time, and mortality." Francis French, space historian and author of Falling to Earth
"Armed with his trusty telescope, aided by lunar maps, and assisted by experts, Cokinos chronicles his long love affair with the moon and his virtual pilgrimage there. Cokinos finds grandeur and beauty in the barrenness of the lunar landscape. A passionate journey to the moon without ever leaving Earth." Booklist
“An award-winning author takes a close and fascinating look at our cosmic neighbor. Writing with a clear, poetic voice, Cokinos shows how the story of the Moon is also a story of humanity.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred
"Chris Cokinos pulls even the most adamant earth lover's gaze upward to the moon, to discover all it has reflected through time. Sunlight is the least of it. Instead we find our own earthly projections, our hopes, flaws, discoveries, and yearnings. You'll never see the moon the same." Meera Subramanian, author of A River Runs Again
"Still as Bright is a mesmerizing masterpiece that instills a profound sense of wonder and respect for the Moon. Its blend of poetic storytelling and scientific insights ensures an unforgettable reading experience. Whether you are passionate about space exploration or our place in the universe or simply captivated by our Moon's allure, today and through the ages, this book deserves a place on your bookshelf." James R. Hansen, New York Times Best Selling Author of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
"It's rare for a book to turn science into lyricism, to weave between past and present seamlessly, and to transform personal history into a universal meditation. Still As Bright accomplishes all three, an even rarer feat. In this awe-inspiring exploration of what the Moon has meant to Earth and its people, Cokinos draws the two celestial bodies into philosophical, cultural, emotional, and scientific orbit around each other, mirroring in his text their mutual motion in the cosmos." Sarah Scoles, author of They Are Already Here
“The moon is a strangely challenging subject, but Christopher Cokinos does a wonderful job revealing both the oldest and latest lunar news and providing insight into the swirl of controversial new activity. People will soon be back on the moon and Still As Bright provides a better grasp on the true significance of this. This is also a poetic narrative of moonlit fascination that is a delight to read.” Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future and The High Sierra: A Love Story
“Cokinos has a way of inviting us to enter new worlds while transporting us to thoughts we haven’t yet had. It’s action and meditation in balance: by the end, we know ourselves better than we did. Still as Bright is going to be remembered as a masterpiece of ecological and philosophical exploration, taking its place beside the works of Terry Tempest Williams and Barry Lopez, Robert McFarlane and Annie Dillard.”

Michael Paterniti, National Magazine Award Winner and author of The Telling Room and Driving Mr. Albert
Still as Bright showcases Cokinos’s peerless talent for braiding personal experience with epic scientific adventure—and in the process, conjures an alchemy of love, heartache, mystery, and wonder. This rumination on the Moon’s place in human affairs is filled with surprise and insight enough to fill the Sea of Rains." Earl Swift, best-selling author of Chesapeake Requiem