Poetry. "In Pattie McCarthy's MARYBONES, the vision of Mary so proliferates that the frame of personhood (really, womanhood) stretches within the poems, demonstrating 'the difference between unknown & anon.' McCarthy makes a fascinating study of the dividing—infinitely dividing—subjectivity of the Mary who is virgin, mother, queen, Irish cook, children's rhyme, ship, or one of the millions of Marys so named between 1880 and 1948 when it was the most popular name for a girl. In one telling phrase, McCarthy writes simply 'Mary I find.' Thus these poems acutely, poignantly, wryly search the shifting distance between witness and presence itself. To follow MARYBONES through this seeking and finding is abundantly satisfying: a conversation, a conversion, a version. Here, the sense of identity as static is transformed into 'an act of glow.'"—Elizabeth Robinson
"Pattie McCarthy's MARYBONES powerfully evokes—and invokes—the iconic, implacable mother-of-god Everywoman who is always slippping out of canonical reach. The rosary was once a handful of bones; it used to be flowers. In this gorgeous enunciation of annunciations, Mary touches the singular with the universal, an open signifier of unwritten and unmarried mothers. She is the S. S. Mary, the Santa Maria, a casualty of unknown forces, an early American, a boat full of immigrants, a survivor of hard labor. McCarthy lovingly draws all of her into the refuge of this amazing book."—Elizabeth Willis
"From painting to literature to lullabies, through seminal figures, religious iconography, and those whose anonymity is broken only by their shared namesake, Pattie McCarthy's MARYBONES braids the images, anecdotes, representations, and interpretations of the lives of the many women who've gone by the name of Mary into a book that is at once an ekphrastic historiography and an investigation of motherhood. Here, the poet is collector, collaborator, researcher, and re-enactor, all the while careful not to jostle the infant sleeping in her lap. If, as Gertrude Stein tells us, 'Mary could be a color,' then McCarthy's book-length poem deploys it in everything from wide arcs to pointillist precision, illuminating the shade of the present by filling in the skeletal details of our public and private pasts."—Noah Eli Gordon
Pattie McCarthy is the author of seven books of poetry and over a dozen chapbooks. WIFTHING (2020) is her sixth book with Apogee Press–previous Apogee books by McCarthy include, most recently, QUIET BOOK(2016) and MARYBONES(2012). She is a non-tenure track associate professor in the English Department at Temple University, where she teaches literature and creative writing.
Author City: PHILADELPHIA, PA USA