These eloquent poems appear at first to record detail, the ordinary, the everyday. They celebrate a swallow's nest, sand grains, even the growth of weeds. But there is a twist: these are also dark pastorals that-in the poet's words-review and regret "the damaged earth". Again and again, these poems return to defenseless nature, to creatures looted and evicted and to human lives hurt and interrupted. This shadowing of the relation between the poet and every kind of nature is the real theme of these fine poems. It deepens and sharpens their music.
EAVAN BOLANDauthor of Domestic Violence, Against Love Poetry, and The Lost Land
With a naturalist's eye for the precise and sensuous image and a writer's care for the precise and sensuous word, Maureen Eppstein plants our human griefs into this book, roots them, and invites them to quicken into new life.
JANE HIRSHFIELDauthor of After; Given Sugar, Given Salt; and Nine Gates
Quickening, the first movement of new life, is an apt title for this lovely collection of verse. Each of Maureen Eppstein's poems stirs me to think and feel more deeply about the beauty--and also the tragedy--of life's cycles. These are poems to read by the fire, images to soothe when feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of days trapped indoors, in an urban miasma. Reading this poetry fills me with gratitude for being a part of nature's webs. Eppstein writes in the tradition of Mary Oliver and Jane Hirshfield, with her senses awakened to nature's particular, and ever-changing, nuances.
KAREN LEWISTeacher for California Poets in the Schools
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