Maurya Simon’s The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems 1980-2016 (Red Hen Press 2018, 218 pages) represents a life of questioning and perception, whether the scene is a backyard or a street in Bangalore or the ekphrastic poems of The Weavers or reflections on sinners and saints.
“Here I am/in a century that has its eyes/shut tight,” writes Katie Condon in “Origin,” the first poem in her debut collection Praying Naked (Mad Creek Books 2020). Like so many of the poems, “Origin” moves fluidly between an I and an us, between the natural world and the one created by human beings.
what if i kill the stars first when a medical document asks my marital status i write, trying not to get my hopes up about sunlight that’s what it...
If you’ve got it, flaunt it, / said a t-shirt my mother gave me, / but what did I have? / Tiny batteries in my breasts, / which hummed along, expectant. / I did and didn’t want to grow up
My subject, myself, my object, I / too have spent my whole life / hungry. Any human contact / brings news of me to me.
Red lake of salt, crumbling edge of pus, far border of tender flesh / I tread around the bloody eye, daring the old impulse to jump / Saturday morning, the wound spills
The achingly red Roma tomatoes / fill the bleached porcelain sink / like the bulbous detritus of summer. / The remnants of seed and skin / collide and float broken and hollow.
Past the coffee table, its treacherous / corners; around the hushed ottoman; / pause in front of the flickering flat screen / as if I’d stepped right out of it. My family gapes.
A quiet to these fields we called our place, / could almost hear the springs refeeding ponds, / fracked and gone with the deer and fox and grouse / thanks to the drilling’s thunder in the ground.
The river changed course / By three feet. / Thus the willow withers from thirst. / Thus the rock is set alone like an altar. / Thus the grassy hill browns.
The summer of 2013 / Was seen through rose tinted sunglasses / We gathered at Christa’s house, / Solemnly toasting to “the last year”