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Mary Falls: Requiem for Mrs. Surratt Paperback – July 31, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


"I am in awe of Mary Falls...I am convinced that Christopher Conlon is an extremely important poet, and that in time to come he will be recognized as a major voice in our literature." --Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons

"Mary Elizabeth Surratt, who was hanged as co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, has taken passionate possession of Christopher Conlon and now lives as ghost in his evocative sequence. Victim of 'the mistakes of men,' it is no wonder that she still appears among us, broken but flowing, confused but whole, falling but held in mid-air for us by way of Conlon's considerable art." --William Heyen, author of Shoah Train

About the Author

Christopher Conlon is the author of two previous books of poems, including the Word Works publication Gilbert and Garbo in Love. He also writes fiction (Thundershowers at Dusk: Gothic Stories) and edits anthologies (Poe's Lighthouse). A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Conlon holds an M.A. in American Literature from the University of Maryland. He lives near Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: The Word Works; Hilary Tham Capital Collection edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091538065X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915380657
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,479,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Fine writers are not unlike magicians: They toil long and hard behind the scenes, practicing and honing their slight-of-hand, until it seems to the audience that dazzling tricks are performed effortlessly and with an almost childlike simplicity. I suspect that MARY FALLS: REQUIEM FOR MRS. SURRATT developed in much the same way for magician Christopher Conlon. The sequence of 44 poems that comprise this narrative were surely assembled with great care, research, time and technical skill, but the net result - an examination in poetry of the life and death of Mary Surratt - glides off the page with an almost spontaneous vigor, as if Mr. Conlon were composing it in real time.

Much as he did in GILBERT AND GARBO IN LOVE: A ROMANCE IN POEMS and THE WEEPING TIME: ELEGY IN THREE VOICES, Conlon uses a mix of reality and fantasy to tell the story of a historical figure. He skillfully blends a character's public life and documented biography with imagined thoughts, dreams, hopes and eccentricities, blurring the line between fiction and fact so well that each protagonist seems to have allowed the author to draw on some lost, private diary. These inner lives are not haphazardly guessed at; they evolve as Conlon uses a character's actions to extrapolate their psychological make-up.

The author proved the formula when he essayed the lives of a famous silent screen couple in GILBERT AND GARBO, and perfected it in THE WEEPING TIME, where he dramatized, in personal terms, the largest slave auction in American history.
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