- Alan Michael Parker
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Bird Watching at the End of the World
by Lisa Mangini
Paperback; 96 pages
Find out more about Lisa here.
4 sample poems here.
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"Fabulous in their diction, the poems of Lisa Mangini present a world of sadness and grace, particle and wave. Victims of the body, shadowed by the eighth Deadly Sin--not to be loved--these lovely vessels stuffed with philosophical gleanings and lyrical meditations make possible a future for poetry, and thus, for us."
- Alan Michael Parker
- Alan Michael Parker
"...Mangini crafts a world that is uncertain and violent, that is made more so by the people in it. In the face of this violence... the speaker hones her keen skills of observance. These poems are Picasso'ed birds - they contain and are the brokenness of our world. If we are brave enough to pick them up, to hold them, we will know a terrifying beauty. This is all we have. 'This will have to do.' "
"By having the courage to confront disorder and chaos, Lisa Mangini reminds us that even though we live without closure, we must stay open to moments of communion by learning to live with 'quiet unfulfillment'...Mangini's vivid collection is compelling because the poems are hard edged, are solid because they are true."
"When we spend a lot of time reading poetry, I know we can become critical of the pursuit of love and the defining of boundaries in poetry—but sometimes, a poet chooses to address these exact topics, and they get everything right: they create something new, something meaningful, something entirely worth reading, whether it is within the context of poetry or not. Lisa Mangini makes this exact achievement in her premiere full-length collection, Bird Watching at the End of the World, as she addresses danger as it relates to the body, various forms of physical awakening, and hope, and the complications that come along with it. These poems are incredible, and unique, and lovely, and they invite us with such great ease to consider questions of our reality, of our awareness, and our consent."
- McKenzie Tozan
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
|Winner of the Richard Wilbur Award|
from Mid Evil,
at Poetry Daily
Learn more about Maryann Corbett here
Praise for Mid Evil
Reading Maryann Corbett’s wonderful new collection, Mid Evil, I was reminded of Keats’ equation of beauty with truth. Suffused and haunted by history, Corbett’s poems derive their beauty and power from their fidelity to what is true, in the poet’s life and in ours. Among the truths these impeccably crafted poems witness and affirm is the continuing presence of the past....The journey of Mid Evil—into midlife, mortality, motherhood and medieval history—is one I highly recommend.
This new collection of poems by Maryann Corbett will confirm what her fortunate readers already know: that she is a poet and translator of remarkable accomplishment, whose poems are ‘worldly’ and ‘knowing’ in the best senses of those words. They offer us the delights of their wisdom with an openhandedness for which the only possible response is gratitude.
There are poems about forces of nature, musings and cautions, aging and mortality, what it takes for us to have come this far, what it will take to go on. But many are about the mundane, the events of day to day. I think the use of meter and form makes us see things anew; they provide a structure that that confers significance on our daily preoccupations. (I'm hearing Blake: "Everything that lives is holy.") This poet sees life, in all its complexity and variety, as worthy of all the praise we can summon.
Maryann Corbett is an extraordinary poet. From “Teacup”’s delicate tracing of an object’s origin (“crushed bones are its essence”) to meditations on pop culture’s appropriation of Tolkien (“the fabled rights//of bard and makar, geste and fabliau, give place to rendering and CGI”), Corbett’s poems are both historically attentive and absolutely up to date. Her unique perspective blends a feminist outlook with a scholar’s interests—Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature, or the intersections of verbal and choral music—yet a deep compassion always animates her work....
Maryann Corbett is a medievalist and a singer of sacred music, but her poetry will not settle in the rare book room or the choir loft. An imp of instability, a demon from a Germanic forest, is forever lurking at its edges. She is like the monk who goes on transcribing while the door is being battered down by Vikings. Can high culture survive in America? Corbett, in Mid Evil, confirms that it can. She confirms it not only with elegance and vivacity but with the Midwesterner’s natural aversion to affectation. Hers is a plain-speaking lyricism that, buttressed by formal dexterity, can “sing, against the winds of history,/ that even now our darkened hearts might burn.”
As soon as it arrived I read half of it, unable to stop myself, though I had other things I should have been doing.
Mid Evil starts with scholarly study and ends in a wish for religious exultation; it begins with writing and ends in song, becoming a prayer for inspiration, confidence, purpose, and grace. Whether that prayer can or will receive an answer remains, for Corbett, an open question, but she comes to a conclusion I gladly endorse....
...really a cracking good read. To say I enjoyed it is an understatement. I've waited years to come across a fellow female poet this good, in fact any poet this good!