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Phosphorescence, Poems by Mary Carlton Swope

In this collection of poems that explore form and freedom, written over a period of sixty years, Mary Swope traces the trajectory of a life. With a painterly eye and an ear for the music of language, her poems celebrate the joys, pleasures and sorrows of the natural world and puzzle over the complexities of human relationships, both to one another and to the Earth, the planet on which our lives depend.

Sample Poems by Mary Swope

"This too-long-delayed collection by Mary Swope limns a lifetime of growth and change by a woman laboring to make shape and sense of her life. The poems are clear and painfully honest, alert to thenatural world and its metaphorical abundance, faithful to the things the author loves: the landscape of New England and the seascapes of Cape Cod, family and community, music and beauty and rhyme. There are skillfully made sonnets and sestinas, lovely images ranging from a sensual description of eating mussels ('soft lips/pink, fringed where they part'), to the tenderness of imagining her father as a child, 'ears, coiled like shells,' to telling depictions of mother and daughter, lovers, and marriage ('We have settled into one another/like parts of an old sofa, sagging a little,/letting go.') I am happy to see these visually vivid and musical poems gathered in a book, talking to oneanother and their reader across time."-Jean Nordhaus

"Who is the audience for the poetry of Mary Swope? The answer isvast: people who walk with pleasure in external nature; gardeners of all stripes; readers in the vast field of horticulture; and 'watchers of the sky.'"-Caroline Knox

"I found inspiration and delight reading this work. And shed a few tears as well."-Vievee Francis