Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, Our Lady of the Ruins
tracks a group of women through their pilgrimage in a mid-apocalyptic world. Exploring war, plagues, and the search for a new God in exile, these poems create a chorus of wanderers haunted by empire, God, and personal trauma.
from "Hysteria: A Requiem"
Now, in the last world, we bury nightingales
beneath the floor.
Trackers with their ears to the ground listen
for angels approaching.
Where is the saint, mortally torn and wearing a
hood of stars,
bearing her own redemption?
"Battlefields, childbeds, forests of wolves and hanged men, pious sailors, mysterious saints, 'a warship, disarmed in the desert, waiting for the flood': all these figures, characters and scenarios populate the busy, evocative, Barnard Prize winning second outing from Brimhall (Rookery), whose brief, highly colored poems evoke a universe part Dylan Thomas, part saint's legend and part Tolkien. Brimhall yearns to represent the greatest questions of ethics, politics, parenthood, sexuality, and religious life by means of invented history and syncretic myth. 'On ruined carpets we wallow with pomegranates and sweet wine,' she writes in 'Hysteria: A Requiem'; 'We want to forget the wayfarer we hung/ when he asked for food.' That unfortunate traveler joins the sailors and pilgrims, warriors, mothers, 'a priest who pulls a rope/ of thorns through his tongue' in a cast of characters who face their fates stillbirths, lynchings, sea journeys, religious ecstasies in consistent, relatively straightforward free verse. Even readers who find these poems too much alike, or overearnest, may come away struck by the power in such vignettes, dream-stories, and legends as 'The Visitation,' in which 'Our breath shows itself// to us and disappears. As we enter the woods,/ the astonished wolf lifts its mouth from the lamb.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Poetry for the new century: awake to the world, spiritually profound, and radiant with lyric intelligence." --Carolyn Forché
About the Author
Traci Brimhall's first book, Rookery, was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. A doctoral student at Western Michigan University, she lives in Kalamazoo.