Books For Winter 2015. ‘Driving To The Bees’ by Maggie Schwed.
“In these visceral, lovely poems, Maggie Schwed meditates on farming as both a vocation and a metaphor for creation and self-knowledge. There’s transcendence and bounty here, but the minds at work in these formally inventive poems are too complex and restless to settle for long. Instead, Schwed finds in the difficult lives of animals and the hard work of farming moments for understanding familial love, harrowing violence, accident and unpredictable joy. These lush, constantly shifting landscapes reflect back on us, offering striking revelations about our own moments of human beauty, loss, and inescapable mortality. Driving to the Bees is a thoughtful and deeply moving collection.”
“When I was told that the poems in this book were mostly about farm life, I don’t know what I expected—traditional, pastoral, perhaps like those I’d seen before. But the poems in Driving to the Bees surprised me. They are pastoral, yes, but also fresh and original…exciting in their use of language and their imagery. Here are the old themes: death, amazement at life, grief and joy, done up new. To read this fine work was a joyful experience. I love this book: poem after poem, so exact, yet startling in its imagery, so vivid, so alive. They delighted me.”
“Experiencing our potential intimate relationships with nature, farm animals, bees and much of the life around us, through Maggie’s poems is sheer delight. No one will want to miss out on this joyful experience!”
About the Author:
Maggie Schwed’s poems have appeared in Western Humanities Review, Witness, Raritan, Southwest Review, Commonweal, Pleiades, Barrow Street, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other magazines, on-line publications, and anthologies. A finalist for the 2006 and 2009 Morton Marr Poetry Prize (Southwest Review) and for the 2008 Erskine J. Poetry Prize (Smartish Pace), she is winner of The Malahat Review’s 2011 Long Poem Contest. Her chapbook, Out of Season, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press. She reviews for Pleiades, Blackbird, and Smartish Pace. Maggie lives with her husband in New York City, where she taught high-school English and adult literacy while her children were growing up. She is now a livestock farmhand with the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Driving to the Bees is her first full-length book of poems.