Swimming for the Ark (Paperback)
New & Selected Poems 1990-2015 (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets)
White Pine Press (NY), 9781935210634, 220pp.
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
"One of the few poets whose work remains accessible to both scholars of poetry and the casual reader. . . . Her finely wrought free-form verse reads as easily as prose despite its dense, lush imagery."--The Harvard Review
"Working in free verse, Murray is a master of the single unforgettable detail. Her accessible image-driven narratives harness the urgency of their moral or social context while staying true to the pacing and music of daily life."--The Poetry Foundation (publisher of Poetry magazine)
Swimming for the Ark demonstrates why Joan Murray is praised as one of the leading narrative poets of our time. This career-defining book offers twenty-two new poems along with generous selections from her earlier books: The Same Water (winner of the Wesleyan New Poets Series), Looking for the Parade (winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition), Queen of the Mist (the Niagara narrative which won her a Broadway commission), and Dancing on the Edge.
This highly engaging book vividly dramatizes an urban youth and a rural life, along with deeper concerns about history, art, and injustice.
Of course we said we'd help you--
the cops were after you, you said, and we were
rebel girls, weren't we? the four of us fifteen,
the same age you said you were, when we
crammed together in the doorway of a gated store,
the windows full of knives, vibrators, transistor radios.
I was the only one who understood:
Lemony blond, sweet-voiced for a boy,
you hid behind our Tangee lipstick, our teased-up
hair-dos, the wispy-angora sweaters I can see
in the photo-booth photos I still have here . . .
Joan Murray is the author of four prize-winning collections (from W. W. Norton, Wesleyan, and Beacon Press). She has been a repeat guest on NPR's Morning Edition and is editor of the Poems to Live By anthologies and The Pushcart Book of Poetry.