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What the Earth Seemed to Say | Bloodaxe Books

Marie Howe

What the Earth Seemed to Say

New & Selected Poems

Marie Howe

Publication Date : 21 Nov 2024

ISBN: 9781780377247

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

What the Earth Seemed to Say is a powerful collection of more than three decades of profound, luminous poetry from one of America’s most daring and courageous poets.

With its ‘radical simplicity and seriousness of purpose, along with a fearless interest in autobiography and its tragedies and redemptions’ (Matthew Zapruder, New York Times Magazine), Marie Howe’s poetry transforms penetrating observations of everyday life into sacred, humane miracles. This essential volume draws from each of her four previous collections – including Magdalene (2017), a spiritual and sensual exploration of contemporary womanhood, and What the Living Do (1997), a haunting archive of personal loss – and contains more than fifteen new poems. Whether speaking in the voice of the goddess Persephone or thinking about ageing while walking the dog, Howe is ‘a light-bearer, an extraordinary poet of our human sorrow and ordinary joy’ (Dorianne Laux).

‘Marie Howe's poetry is luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life. Her long, deep-breathing lines address the mysteries of flesh and spirit, in terms accessible only to a woman who is very much of our time and yet still in touch with the sacred.’ – Stanley Kunitz

‘Marie Howe’s poems are remarkable for their focused, intense, and haunting lyricism. Her poems characteristically unfold through a series of luminous particulars that gather emotional power as they delve into the complexities of the human heart. Her poems are acclaimed for writing through loss with verve, but they also find the miraculous in the ordinary and transform quotidian incidents into enduring revelation.’ – Arthur Sze


Praise for Magdalene (2017):

‘Gorgeous, ferocious, lacerating, sexy, and profoundly compassionate.’ – Michael Cunningham

‘Each book of Marie Howe’s is a singular accomplishment, but none is as wildly alive as this.… Howe sweeps up a life and fixes it on the page, and stands here before us, the stunned and grateful witness of all that’s taken and granted by love and time.’ – Mark Doty

‘Marie Howe is among our most gifted poets of trauma and healing, and of where the everyday encounters the world of the sacred. In Magdalene, Howe raises the ante. She now channels the “woman taken in adultery” of New Testament legend, and she is also her questing self, lover and mother, risen to the exaltation of the possible.’ – Alicia Ostriker

‘A smart, engrossing collection.… Readers of any religious background will find much that seems familiar in the modern-day everywoman who sees herself in the faces of a woman wearing a burka, a woman who longs for children and one who hails a taxi wearing a black suit and high heels.’ – Washington Post

Marie Howe: Magdalene

In her collection Magdalene (2017) Marie Howe imagines the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene as a woman who embodies the spiritual and sensual, alive in a contemporary landscape. Between facing the traumas of her past and navigating daily life, the narrator of Magdalene yearns for the guidance of her spiritual teacher, a Christ figure, whose death she continues to grieve. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Marie Howe reading and discussing the poems of Magdalene during her visit to Ledbury Poetry Festival in Herefordshire in July 2018. The poems included are: ‘Before the Beginning’, ‘On Men, Their Bodies’, ‘The Affliction’, ‘Magdalene: The Addict’, ‘The Landing’, ‘The Teacher’ (‘When Moses pleased…), ‘Magdalene – The Seven Devils’, ‘The Girl at 3’, ‘Walking Home’, ‘The Map’ and ‘One Day’.


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