Earth, Grass, Trees and Stone, by Mary Anne Morefield
Earth, Grass, Trees and Stone (152 pages), is a collection of 65 poems by Mary Anne Morefield. The final poem in the collection, “Requiem,” will be set to music for the Susquehanna Chorale in 2015 by Bob Chilcott.
“Mary Anne Morefield’s debut collection overflows with the primacy of living, with the most elemental actions of groundhogs and lambs, with the exuberant colors of cholla and prickly pear, with what she rightly calls ‘the ache of prayer.’ Here is a writer offering wisdom and beauty, humbly teaching us how to live, how to journey toward death with a loved one, how to find strength, even joy, despite grief’s shadow. These poems chant both praise and lamentation. They show us the way toward an earthly resurrection of sorts. They admonish the reader to ‘Let yourself be air.’ With a hard-earned gladness, they say ‘Amen.’ ”
—Todd Davis, author of In the Kingdom of the Ditch and The Least of These
“Mary Anne Morefield’s collection reflects the poet’s meticulous observation of the natural world, but the poems belie their sometimes beautiful surfaces. Their subjects are as various as the forms they take (haibun, sonnet, ode, and more) and encompass vastly different geographies. This is true of the physical worlds the poems evoke: Pennsylvania’s woods, hills, and farmlands and Arizona’s desert landscape. This is also true of the psychic space they conjure, one often marked by loss, both personal and public. Beginning with the opening, title poem and extended in the third, the book contains a number of elegies and could be read as a moving lament for a lost spouse. Yet inside the elegy resides the ode, and these poems insist that we remember the full range of human experience: ‘Rain or Sun? Must I Choose/between them?’ the poet asks at the conclusion of one of her poems. The answer the collection overwhelmingly suggests is: No. The point is not to ‘choose’ but rather to learn to live ‘in the space between/the nothing, the everything, the all.’ ”
—Shara McCallum, poet
“These poems celebrate and mourn, ache and ask. Morefield has received her life, moment by moment, in all its fullness, and she gives it back to us in a voice of gentle and reflective contemplation.”
—Margaret Gibson, author of Broken Cup
With eyes wide open to the world around her, Mary Anne Morefield explores hedgerow and pasture, the plants and animals and humans that inhabit an 18th-century Pennsylvania farm. She broadens her search to the wider world of ideas, to other cultures, to Aleppo and the West Bank. She looks directly at Hurricane Sandy and sits beside death. She examines the region of widowhood, laces up her hiking boots and explores new territory in the flora, fauna and mountains of Arizona. There new colors catch her eye, new sounds enchant her ears. The poems speak to living deeply and fully in the world.
Born and raised in the Mid-West, Mary Anne Morefield lives a tri-partite life in Central Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Chautauqua, New York. She served as Vice President of The Writers’ Center, and as President of the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends. Mary Anne is a member of the Seminary Ridge Foundation in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which oversees the Seminary Ridge Museum. Her work has appeared in various journals, including Poet Lore, Poetry East, Atlanta Review, The MacGuffin and Chautauqua. For more information, click here.
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