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Martha Playing Wiffle Ball in her Wedding Dress, by John Surowiecki
Whether he is speaking in the voice of a silverfish or talking about cancer or recalling the friends he’s lost over the years, John Surowiecki reminds us of an essential irony about our mortality: “darkness / arrives earlier this time of year” but “pretty soon it’ll be there from the start.” In this wise, utterly original collection of poems, John explores “what’s left of the world” with wry humor and compassion for us all.
—Edwina Trentham, Author of Stumbling into the Light, Founding Editor of Freshwater
“The snow fell with stunning malice,” writes John Surowiecki, and so this book of quirky and deeply human voices also stuns us in poem after poem with an exhilarating play of language, resonant pathos, and clandestine wit. In one poem, he elegizes the deaths of seven canaries, lamenting that “no one’s watching over/little things.” But clearly Surowiecki is. These poems fly from the heart and into the foundry of our consciousness where, unlike his canaries, they not only survive, but thrive—beautifully so.
—George Drew, Author of The View from Jackass Hill, Winner of the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
Through John Surowiecki’s crisp, evocative, musical lines we see the wonder and pathos of ordinary life—and extraordinary lives. In the title poem, a bride plays wiffle ball with her softball friends, gliding around the bases like a goddess, her feet hidden by the dress’s bottom. Aided by a propitious breeze and fielders making farcical errors, she safely reaches home. In fact, she will always be safe at home, just as we will, because we have let the grace of poetry into our lives.
—Stephen Campiglio, Author of Cross-Fluence, Founder of the Mishi-Maya-Gat Spoken Word & Music Series
Sample from Martha Playing Wiffle Ball in Her Wedding Dress
Adulterers Find Their Way Home
The long lunar shadows remind them they have
excuses to invent and narratives to memorize.
They pass the brook that dives under snow
and ice, one shadowy green S after another.
Then comes the orchard of sticks and the city
that disdains its own redemption,
then the street that pretends to sleep
but listens for purring idles
and hears them as hurtful roars:
home and not home, tired of the usual ecstasies
and misgivings, weary of bold adventures
and secret souvenirs.