Epistles from the Planet Photosynthesis (Hardcover)

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"Mary Adams does what every good poet must: makes the familiar strange and melancholy and shot through with glints of joyousness, and brings the strange up close. There we can see the unexpected branchings of emotion even through the circuits of the computer and her longing for distant worlds. Technically skillful and marvelously attentive to the nearly invisible, Mary Adams is one of the most original poets I've read in a long time."-- Rosellen Brown

"Mary Adams transmutes her precursors--Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery--into something rich and strange in this splendid first book of earthly displays and discoveries."-- Edward Hirsch


In an auspicious first book, Mary Adams has heeded Emily Dickinson's advice: "Tell all the truth, but tell it slant." This poet writes about the pain of lost love, the difficulty of communicating and the longing, sometimes, to be anything other than human. Many poets have tried to express this longing; few succeed as succinctly as Adams.

In poem after poem--sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, pantoums, blank verse--Adams demonstrates her knowledge of traditional forms and her ability to forge beauty from chaos and uncertainty. She has something else, too--the courage to trust her ear as it wends through the linguistic garden of riches and chooses just the right bloom.
Here is part of "Epistle LXVI: Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness":
Sin never dies: hell
too, will be equally as bright
always, and just hot enough for the constant
manufacture of verdure,
grandeur, coiffeur.

That "coiffeur" jolts us with its rightness, its strangeness, its wit. For wit she has in abundance and she uses it judiciously to leaven her wisdom. It precludes self- pity but does not, somehow, banish sentiment. Her villanelle "The Cats Cried as Evening Came On" is a haunting description of living alone that almost conquers, almost celebrates loneliness. Here are the first three lines of this stunning, understated poem:
The earth lies restless underneath my bones.
It seeps into the dusk into my house.
Sweep taut and long, dark birds, and scatter stones.


Mary Adams directs the Professional Writing Program at Western Carolina University. Her poetry has appeared most recently in Shenandoah and Asheville Poetry Review.



Product Details
ISBN: 9780813016702
ISBN-10: 0813016703
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication Date: March 8th, 1999
Pages: 88
Language: English
Series: University of Central Florida Contemporary Poetry (Hardcover)

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