New and Selected Poems
By Maurya Simon
Maurya Simon’s new volume, The Wilderness, spans over thirty years of her poetry writing life, and it explores the most vital aspects of our lives: the power of language, the mysteries of the natural world, and how we may endure and transcend the losses that besiege us as we live fully in the world.
Maurya Simon’s language is lush, dense, sensual, and framed by a dazzling intellect. In this her New and Selected Poems we come to see the full power of her symphonic sweep and the sheer dynamism of her compositional slant–riffs, play, improvisation, harmonic resonance–-yet the resolve is always there, always a breathless moment. The opening poem has all the profundity of Rumi and the softness of Pablo Neruda. She explores themes of home, habitation, wildness, God, the scriptural erasure of women’s bodies and her subversive reinstatements, a robust love of the word and its various embodiments, and always more, always more. This is her own book of questions, her own gospel. Maurya Simon’s oeuvre is a deliberate world of grace, awe, beauty, delight and wonder. In these poems you will find rest, comfort, deep questions, some discomfort, but always joy. Read this book –you will be grateful for it.
The Wilderness … makes clear what readers of hers over the years have increasingly come to feel, that Maurya Simon’s is one of the strongest, most humane, imaginative, compassionate and flat-out brilliant voices of her generation. The sensual immediacy of her vision, her explorations of non-western traditions, and the ease with which she moves between present-day America and other cultural milieus and historical periods—all of this is dazzling. I don’t think she is capable of writing a bad line. Readers of poetry who may have been unfamiliar with Simon’s work up till now should sit up and take notice.
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