DINNER WITH EMERSON
In her new book, Mnookin continues to mine daily life for the details that reveal who we are, exploring the tension between the desire for intimacy and the need for solitude, between the pull of the past and the realities of the present. In these poems the birth of grandchildren and the failing health of her mother provide a new window into these concerns. And there's something at stake. It's a special challenge, when writing about children and grandchildren, to express emotion and still maintain sufficient distance and rigor to avoid sentimentality. In these poems, Mnookin claims that ground.
"Wendy Mnookin's poems are deft reports from the unkempt country of love. This is a radiant collection that gathers us through whatever love has rained on us all.''
THE MOON MAKES ITS OWN PLEA
The poems in The Moon Makes Its Own Plea coalesce around the condition of mortality--not a specific death, although these also occur in the poems, but the state of being mortal. How do we hold onto an identity, a recognizable self, in the face of this sure erasure?
"Wendy Mnookin's poems are remarkably lucid and subtly evocative, full of little surprises at every turn. The Moon Makes Its Own Plea gives us poems beautifully nuanced, reflecting life in all its ironies and mysteries, poignantly aware of the brevity that makes each moment vivd and crucial."
WHAT HE TOOK
Mnookin's father died in a car accident when her family was traveling across country in 1949. WHAT HE TOOK moves from the accident and her early struggles to accept his death to her understanding that she will always long for an absent father and live with a heightened sense of the nearness of loss.
"In What He Took, a woman is haunted by her father's death at 27 in a car accident from which she emerged unscathed but not unscarred. She fills the void with poems that rise to the surface like well-water: deep, clear, and sparking with detail. But Mnookin doesn't stop there: She goes on to explore how loss can shape and inform an adult life. There may be heartbreak in these poems, but they're made of something much more resilient--not just a longing for what might have been, but a profound understanding of what was."
--Sue Ellen Thompson
TO GET HERE
Mnookin explores her family's transformation under the pressure of a son's drug addiction. Using shifting chronology and different voices, she writes about the family's efforts to understand the changing reality of their lives, to live with the knowledge that none of us can keep those we love safe.
"These poems are taut with trouble and courage, straddling the borders between the landscape of domestic and the harsh urban world into which a son has slipped, between fierce love and humble acts of witness, between daily routin and undercurrents of peril and chance. Mnookin has achieved a fine balance between extremes, showing the balance is not stillness at all, but rather contant flow of adjustments. Tiny moves. Acts of vigilance."
The poems in GUENEVER SPEAKS use Malory's Morte D'Arthur as a starting point to explore the inner life of the woman at the center of the story of Camelot, a woman often obscured by the actions of the men around her. Illustrated by Deborah Davidson.
"In the best tradition of persona poetry, Mnookin revives the Arthurian legend, giving voice to the woman often lost in the dramatic gestures of the men around her. The poems build upon the hints offered in Malory's text, expanding and humanizing the character of Guenever, who becomes a woman we can recognize as existing out-of-time, iin our time."
--Barbara Helfgott Hyett
My books are available from Amazon, but I hope you will consider ordering directly from your local independent bookstore. Or you can order through bookshop.org, which supports independent bookstores with every purchase. Their site also gives you the opportunity to specifiy your favorite independent bookstore, and the credit will go to them.