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OLDEST MORTAL MYTH (POETRY)

Oldest Mortal Myth (Story Line Press, 2012), poems

Selected by Marilyn Nelson for the 2012 Donald Justice Poetry Prize

“The precise gaze and chiseled language of the poems in Oldest Mortal Myth authoritatively convey a broad and deep knowledge. Whether a re-imagining a Greek myth in order to infuse it with a contemporary pain, extending empathy and humorous Mitmenschkeit to both denizens and voyeurs of the world’s freak-shows, or describing with wit and experience the spiritual affects of medical conditions, the book is infused with restrained but piercing emotion, a subtle metrical ear, and enough daring and wit to write in rhymed couplets to take the obvious, easy, way. For instance, with the last line of “De Wallen, Amsterdam”: “The moon above the spires, a sexless disk,/eyes us coolly as an odalisque.” I so admire the refusal to make that last line scan as a perfect iambic pentameter line. It would be so easy; all you’d have to do is add the grammatical, but colloquial, “as.” Which would have ruined the line, and the poem. Oh, and the rhymes in the canzone! There’s much to admire here, much to enjoy.”-Marilyn Nelson

Oldest Moral Myth Book Cover