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Cerise Press


The Bride of E: Poems by Mary Jo Bang

An Abecedarian Marriage

A review by Christina Cook

Save for the notable exceptions of Psalm 119 and Chaucer's "Prayer of Our Lady," abecedarian poems have largely earned their fame by teaching young children their ABCs. Although the innocence of childhood certainly plays into the prosody and themes in The Bride of E, Mary Jo Bang's sixth book of poetry, the collection itself could not be more intellectually engaging. Take for example the first poem, "ABC Plus E: Cosmic Aloneness is the Bride of Existence." The very title establishes human existence as a philosophical problem: the "Bride of Existence" is ipso facto not "Existence" itself. In other words, she is non-existent, residing in a pre-marital state of undemarcated nothingness, which actually makes her the perfect match for Existence -- unless he is going to marry himself. But this also sets up an eternal engagement, since non-existence and existence can never, by their very definitions, unite. In this way, the title introduces a challenging, witty, playful poem in which "[t...

Previously Reviewed by Cerise Press
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Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (Terry Lectures) by Marilynne Robinson

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Click here to subscribe Cerise Press, an international online journal based in the United States and France, builds cross-cultural bridges by featuring artists and writers in English and translations, with an emphasis on French and Francophone works.

Co-founded by Sally Molini, Karen Rigby, and Fiona Sze-Lorrain in 2009, Cerise Press hopes to serve as a gathering force where imagination, insight, and conversation express the evolving and shifting forms of human experience.

To contact Cerise Press, please email

The Spring 2011, Vol. 2 Issue 6 of Cerise Press features Smoking, Chongqing, a photograph by Steven Benson. spacer

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