Thursday, 12 February 2015


A really exciting major American poet, my friend Maryann Corbett. My initial response to her new book Mid Evil, UEP, USA.

Maryann Corbett​

Maryann's new book Mid Evil is really a cracking good read.To say I enjoyed it is an understatement. I've waited years to come across a fellow female poet this good, in fact any poet this good!
From its opening poem 'Hand' that brings the human past right here and into your soul (It's only later...//I wonder how long the bones of a hand would last'), and all the other great (sic) writerly poems in that first section, through the other thoughtful sections --eg. especially:

II.The Nature of Things -- 'the plainest facts conspiring to be shapers/of glorious illusions' ('Insubstantial Pageant'); 'that crushed bones are its essence' ('Teacup') ---

III. A Chronicle in Fragments -- 'but the fears persist//he'll open his eyes/to a face that sneers/from the rank abscess/of an old knife twist/ ('The Patient Prays for the Grace of a Good Death') --

IV . AD Feminam .'women serve here as dumb shows./ Backgrounds are more alive ('In the Renaissance Rooms of the National Gallery');
(my aside: though Maryann I hope you do know Artemisia Gentileschi, and if you don't, you must!); and the marvellous two poems here, 'Foundation Myth' and 'Resurrection Blues' --

V. Fables ='The Panhandler's Tale;, and 'He was a predator --went after her' ('Abelard and Eloise: The Jaundiced View'); 'That sounds like wish was wings' ('Swanlore'); and the amazing but worrying 'Disturbances of the Peace'-- Move over great story-tellers of the past, there's a new poet on the block!!
to --
VI. Sing, My Tongue. 'so I joked...//and you winced' (Dissonance'); 'that even now our darkened hearts might burn' (the terrific poem, 'On Singing the Exultet'); 'and the panhandler who is, as promised, always with us//...asks in the voice of God,/for my spare change.' (A Mozart Mass....);
'my concentration is toast. Abba. And all/I'm seeing now is party.' (As Little Children'); to the final wonderful last piece:'Tired of my dread/I want it back: the confidence in air....' ('Prophesying to the Breath').

Oh I've gone on a long time, but enough to give you a flavour, I hope -- it is all so good! This poetry is wise, vulnerable and skilled. It is really honest, knowledgeable and musical. It has both delicacy and heft. I love it to bits, and highly recommend you read it.

Congratulations and well done, Maryann!! Very well done. 'The 'girl' done good' xx

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