Nicola's Reviews > What the Living Do: Poems

What the Living Do by Marie Howe
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May 11, 12

Read in February, 2012

I admire the way Marie Howe weds the archetypal with flat description. She manages to write with such a direct, often matter-of-fact, voice, but still keep a fraught underneath, full of mystery. And her elongation of a moment (so many gerunds!) and collapsing of times--the drudgery of this, the magic--captured the experience of grief for me: the fumbling through the mundane, the desires for transcendence. Love this book. Goes way beyond mere "confession."

I saw Howe read this spring. She was so warm and approachable. Has an incredible mane of hair. She'd crack jokes, then read devastating poems. At one point, she mentioned that she had an imaginary friend when she was a child and, for all she knew, the friend could be in this room. Her young, adopted daughter's voice broke through the Q&A: "What does she look like?"
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