Debut Collection from 2022 Morgenthau Poetry Prize Runner-Up Sandy Longley
In a world filled with cows, cormorants, dogs, mola molas, crows, bullfrogs, wrens, box turtles, chickens, bears, possums, mothers, daughters, and more, Sandy Longley is a protective presence. And distinctive and refreshing in the world she has created is that some of these creatures talk back. Runner-up to the Morgenthau Prize for a first book by a poet 70 or older, MOTHERNEST gives voice to the passion, wisdom and freedom age brings.
Poetry. Nature. Family & Relationships. Women's Studies.
“‘Let me be your river’ writes this poet of the natural world, and indeed that is what Sandy Longley achieves in MOTHERNEST, a collection of quiet push and pull and sustained flow from its opening poem to the last, which is a study of an opossum living out her life ‘in this in-between place.’ A river is an in-between place, literally cutting through and creating liminality; a migration is an in-between journey. The poet feels so at home in these locations of temporary solace and traveling. I remember that these points of transience are my own home environment, too, my natural habitat, and the perfect backdrop for poetry. I know what I love about this book: its confidence and concision, its translation of the world of bears and crows into a language that does not impose on animals our human assumptions and needs. This is a poet in the tradition of Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop and Seamus Heaney, whose poems are at home with borders and frontiers between danger and softness, life and death. ‘I am a Fainting goat,’ Longley writes, ‘knocked on my back, one eye open to the sky . . . Touch my curved horns – tender.’” — David Keplinger, Prize Judge and author of The World to Come
“The gathering of poems in Longley’s collection embodies the beauty of nature, journeys of literature and history with elements of self-reflection. Gentle and subtle each poem’s telling travels through various migrations and gives the reader a smooth voice to follow into the depths of daily life.” — Phyllis Carito, author of The Stability of Trees in the Winds of Grief
“Sandy Longley’s very heart is revealed in her new collection of poems, MOTHERNEST: large and expansive, capable of breaking, but also her mind – wise, imaginative, and creative. She takes the observed world and makes it shimmer with meaning. ‘Such a brutal, beautiful place is this world,’ she writes. Who could disagree? And ‘when the heart is comfortless’ we can turn to Sandy Longley and in fact to our inner selves, keepers of Poetry.” — Dennis Minsky, Naturalist and contributor to WCAI’s A Cape Cod Notebook and The Provincetown Independent
Sandy Longley lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts near her family, and is inspired daily by the rich, natural surroundings. She is a regular contributor to WCAI's Poetry Sunday Program. MOTHERNEST was runner-up in Passager's Henry Morgenthau III 2022 First Book Poetry Prize, The Robert Frost Foundation 2020 and 2022 Award, and shortlisted for The Bridport Prize and Gregory O'Donoghue Award. She is a former Associate Professor of English at SUNY/Columbia-Greene Community College. Publications include New Millennium Writings, Nimrod International Journal, Passager, Spillway and Southword Journal. Finishing Line Press published her first chapbook, Navigating the Waters, in 2016.