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Fireflies in the Gathering Dark Paperback – May 16, 2017
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About the Author
Her most recent chapbook is Tying the Light (Finishing Line Press, 2014). She authored two previous chapbooks: Dancing with Elvis (Top Hat & Tails Press) and Moving On (Pudding House Press), and edited four anthologies of poetry and essays published by Adams Media. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry has won numerous awards, including 1st Place “Judge’s Pick” in the anthology Well-Versed.
Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Kalliope, I-70 Review, The DMQ Review, Coal City Review, Main Street Rag, Persimmon Tree, Third Wednesday, and 2014 Poet’s Market. She previously served as poetry editor for Kansas City Voices and is a contributing editor for Heartland! Poems of Love, Resistance & Solidarity.
More of her work can be seen at www.marilcrabtree.com
- Publisher : Kelsay Books (May 16, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 86 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1945752823
- ISBN-13 : 978-1945752827
- Item Weight : 4.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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The overall tone of Crabtree’s book is uplifting without preaching. That doesn’t make her a Pollyanna. She leads off with “Irish Lullaby for the End of the World.” She knows that life is a dark night dancing with fireflies and that fireflies lose their magic by day. She acknowledges the dark, but directs her worries to concern for our environment and planet, not herself. She writes (“In the Garden”)
“…Where do we humans fit
with our clusters and colonies binged
across the earth’s crust, tilting at skies
ragged with ozone holes…”
“…I hear the wind
and wonder with each passing gust
whose house will fall next.”
In her quest to make the most of a day, Crabtree loves to travel and to spend time outdoors. (Many of her metaphors come from nature.) She takes us with her to Pensacola, Memphis, New Orleans, for museum tours, drives on the freeway, and walks on beaches. Like any good poet, she takes along for some time travel, too.
My favorite moments are when Crabtree spins different metaphors for how she wants to live:
“Before I die
may my rooms be empty,
picked clean as old bones.
May I have the courage
to wear last year’s dresses,
find comfort in old
books, let go, let go, and say
a clear goodbye.”
(“In My Mother’s House”)
And how’s this for seizing the day?
“I wish for a heron’s life
one splayed foot
solid as stone.”
Crabtree’s poetry ponders the joys and sorrows of the average, turn of the twenty-first century American life. One such representative poem is “Queen of Hair” in which the speaker jumps from wonder at her newborn baby’s hair to a mediation and adulation of the world of the 1960’s through which the speaker herself has matured: “Meanwhile, back in the sixties, we blessed/ and worshiped hair as a way to declare space/ for ourselves in a land where hair could grow to/ extravagant lengths.” “In My Mother’s House” captures the American obsession with material possessions “[s]tacked ceiling high, boxes neatly labeled”. Crabtree’s poems speak to the middle class American experience and make even evening rush hour traffic awe-worthy with her Mid-west metaphors in “Coming Home on a Freeway”: “Herds of headlights/ swallow the sun’s last rays./ As the patter of rain begins, a thousand whispers twitch and fling it away.” Crabtree’s Fireflies in the Gathering Dark should be required reading for baby-boomers and their children.