Books for summer 2014. A Sunny Place with Adequate Water by Mary Biddinger.
Book for summer 2014: In her third full-length collection, A Sunny Place with Adequate Water, Mary Biddinger untangles past from present, through poems preoccupied with gentrification, imaginary coin-operated machinery, and an uncanny doubling of good and wicked selves. As “Some Dead Magic” testifies, “Even streetlamps couldn’t help themselves. // Where could they possibly lead us? There wasn’t / any magic left in the world, only stray newspapers.” The poems of this book hope that history will somehow provide insight for our current moment, while acknowledging the necessary transformation of desire over time. Part nostalgia recast as seductive angst, part pastoral (and anti-pastoral), these poems explore small town legends in a landscape of longing, displacement, looming disaster, and unexpected joy.
“A little surreal, a little nostalgic, Mary Biddinger’s remarkable new collection describes the challenge of growing up a nascent artist in a sometimes resistant, but always-clamorous neighborhood. The speaker evolves from a girl who reverses herself “until there wasn’t anything left” into someone who wants to live in the burn, and each poem invokes both the visible and invisible mechanisms that uphold a small town. I’m as moved by this book’s incisive take on personal history as I was by James Tate’s Lost Pilot. ” Carmen Giménez Smith.
“These poems proceed by way of declaration & juxtaposition, through keen sight & keener insight. Which is another way of saying that Mary Biddinger sees things & sees through things equally, not privileging one vision over the other. What we have here is our regular old world made richer & more insidious, a place where “the punishments were just as lavish as the draperies,” a home we get to see as if for the first time.” Nate Pritts.
About the Author:
Mary Biddinger is the author of the poetry collections Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007), Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2013). She is also co-editor of The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have recently appeared in Crazyhorse, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and Sou’wester, among others. She teaches literature and poetry writing at The University of Akron, where she edits Barn Owl Review, the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.
FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES
Clearly I was getting nowhere.
I wanted to be the next Moll Flanders.
I felt not of myself, as if roads
had shifted a little. But who was feeling
me, then? Pneumonia was like an aunt
who sends you enormous shorts
with the price tag still on,
then watches you toss them into a lake.
I hated my friends and their weddings.
The cold trickle of children
from a neighborhood school turned
into a simulated knife
fight between warring factions.
My distrust of the establishment left
me somewhat prepared.
I was evacuation-prone, redheaded
and formerly adulterous, cultivated
enough to need no costume
but holiday socks and a ghost train
like in the wedding magazines
my friends suddenly began purchasing
while I was attempting sleep
and other things while standing.
Remember when your biggest worry
was where? And now it’s how many
leaves will keep you alive.
Books for summer 2014: http://www.blacklawrence.com/