Having Cut the Sparrow’s Heart
Winner of the 2009 Green Rose Prize
“Although I learned to read Malinda Markham by reading fairy tales, the categories to which these new poems belong are more nearly those of an imagined crystallography — read from the right angle, an intense interior bursts with light; I am continually pushed up against a beautiful danger of the world by this work, and yet the whole book is about a most amazing quietness. Here, for instance, is what can happen: ‘He folds each day to a boat that seams across water almost too narrow to hold it.’ No one else writes poems anywhere near these in felt intelligence, in glorious sensuous detail.”
“In a masterful work of startling possibilities, Markham layers gleaming phrases into a testimony to the world’s particularities, which she reveals as also, paradoxically, eternal. Nothing here is limited by history, but instead attains the kind of simultaneity that drives myth. And like myth, her world is populated by creatures that mean, irreducibly, only themselves. Her ready attention to animals and birds is indicative of a compassion that demands of the world an inventive intelligence, and offers it one in return.”
“What might one do if one finds him- or herself in a fairy tale?: ‘There is no danger, only the trick/of time passing,’ says Malinda Markham in her long-awaited and much-anticipated second collection of poetry that is both an invitation to immerse and an invocation of metamorphic language-worlds that are fashioned from the dreams of children and birds; hells and hungry ghosts; and fairies and familiars. This elegant, image-rich verse provides ancient, gnostic remedies that ‘keep the fear-songs at bay.'”
Malinda Markham received an MFA from the University of Iowa
Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. After teaching full-time in the Linguistics Department at Daito Bunka University in Tokyo for several years, she won a Blakemore Fellowship to attend Stanford University’s Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Japan. Her first book of poems, Ninety-five Nights of Listening, won the Bread Loaf Bakeless Prize and was published by Houghton-Mifflin. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Conjunctions, Colorado Review, American Letters & Commentary, Paris Review, Volt, Fence, andAntioch Review and has been included in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries and Deep Travel. She has also published translations of post-war and contemporary Japanese women’s poetry.