Wendy Drexler’s third poetry collection, Before There Was Before, was published by Iris Press in March 2017. A three-time Pushcart-Prize nominee, she’s also the author of Western Motel (Turning Point, 2012) and the chapbook Drive-Ins, Gas Stations, the Bright Motels (Pudding House, 2007). Her poems have appeared widely or are forthcoming in such journals as Barrow Street, Ibbetson Street, J Journal, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, The Mid-American Review, The Maine Review, The Hudson Review, The Worcester Review, and the Valparaiso Poetry Review; featured on Verse Daily and WBUR’s Cognoscenti; and in the anthologies Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and Burning Bright: Passager Celebrates 21 Years. Wendy’s first children’s book, Buzz, Ruby, and Their City Chicks, coauthored with Joan Fleiss Kaplan, was published by Ziggy Owl Press in 2016. Wendy grew up in Denver, Colorado, and now lives in Belmont, MA. She is a free-lance editor and has been a poetry editor and a cavity-nest monitor for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. She’s currently in training to be certified as a poet-in-residence in the Boston public schools. Her website is wendydrexlerpoetry.com.
Wendy Drexler’s Before There Was Before is that rare book that both ranges far, into the worlds of science, nature and art, and moves in close, examining her own particular human experience. Drexler takes us back in time to the Big Bang and projects us 7.5 billion years into the future. She thinks about birds and elephants, flies, beetles, crickets, chameleons. She imagines Monet and Cézanne, she listens to Schubert, looks closely at film, sculpture, paintings and photographs. The pressure of time and the consolations of intimacy, which animate these poems, carry over into the more personal poems, threading the wider vision to the tighter one. Relying always on carefully observed and imagined particulars, she parries the pressure of time with an insistence on living attentively. “Let’s take a stab / at the dark,” she says in the title poem. Let’s “time our tea, // if we have tea, / if we have time.” Drexler takes her stab at the dark, and we are all the better for it.
Nancy Esposito’s most recent book is Lamentation with June Bug, Word Poetry, 2013. Her first book of poems was Changing Hands (QRL Contemporary Poetry Series). Mêm’ Rain, a winner of the National Looking Glass Poetry Chapbook Competition, was published in 2002 by Pudding House Publications, which also published Greatest Hits 1978-2001 in 2003. She received the Discovery/The Nation Award, Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant, the Colladay Award, PSA Award, a Fulbright Grant to Egypt, and grants to Southeast Asia as well as an NEH to study the Vietnam War. Her own work has been translated into Spanish and Vietnamese. She has been published in numerous magazines, among which are American Poetry Review, The Nation, and Threepenny Review.
Nancy Esposito, in these sustained sighing poems, is in it for the long game. Every long line is an event horizon. See the sea writing in long hand! There are endless highways, vectors vectoring from here till kingdom come, a time and a place at odds even with the odds. That endless, infinite line forms smack dab in the middle of nowhere and runs its course, a mobius, in the heart of the heart, warped and wonderful, a parenthetic parenthesis, the periodic morphed to ellipses….
-Michael Martone, Author of Four for a Quarter and Michael Martone
Holly Guran, author of River of Bones (Iris Press) and the chapbooks River Tracks and Mothers’ Trails, earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council award (2012), and is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets. Her work has appeared in journals including Compassion Anthology, Mom Egg Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Borderlands, Santa Fe Literary Review, Worcester Review, and Salamander. Holly attends the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences and plays an active role in the Rozzie Reads Poetry series.
The River of Bones is both Lethe, the river of dark oblivion, and the deep, indelible pang of ancestral remembrance articulated in the marrow.. . [H]er poems acknowledge what cannot be retrieved as a check against false sublimity, and a genuine register of what precious little can–the sure sign of a craft that knows its limits. In one of her very beautiful meditations on the Lowell mill workers, “Archeology”, the poem ends:
What we resurrect carries back
so little of them.