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.
In the chemical light of afternoon, / bodies curl over phones, / slightly toward windows, / empty forms, / if it’s test day.
The great English critic Matthew Arnold once said that he had no respect for the Romantic poets–you know, Shelley, Wordsworth, Byron–because they didn’t know enough. He would not level such a charge against Rosemary Badcoe, who in her remarkable first collection, Drawing a Diagram, so amply and skillfully demonstrates that she knows a great deal – about science, about history, about art, and most importantly for a poet, about writing poetry.
I went over to James’s house unannounced. He opened his bedroom door, his hair all bent and flat from sleeping.
I don’t wear my mother’s body. / There’s no use sneaking around / the house, a gingerbread prefab, / forest-scented with frosting snow.
I met Ed Milk when I was working as a reporter for a chain of community newspapers in
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in the late seventies. A week after he came on staff I was fired for having signed a petition for a writers’ union, so we never had the chance to get to know each other all that well, but after he was fired three months later for having signed the same petition, he called to ask me to help him find a job. I was working as the director of publicity for a country music station by then.
Although subtle, and often hidden behind snappy dialogue, fights, and sex, the lingering and often overwhelming sadness that follows a loved one’s death is really what holds Monsters together.
Our prayer was not dissimilar. It’s the one in which man meets woman and they’re yoked at the loins, pinned at the heart, pulled together by centrifugal force. Grant us good sex, amen.
It was as though technique somehow made you a slave to the system, a system that dictated a structure that boxed you in and held you back from the free expression of who you were. Lose the structure, shed the form, and you were revealed.