Fierce, surreal, ecstatic, and passionately transcendent, the sixty-two beautifully crafted poems in Mary Mackey's Sugar Zone offer depth and complexity while at the same time remaining entirely accessible. Mackey's range is extraordinary. Although over half the poems take as their subject the great cities and tropical rainforest of Brazil, which Mackey knows intimately, her real subject is a journey through a visionary landscape of the human heart which lies somewhere between Saint Theresa's Inner Castle and the thicket of Eros.
“In Sugar Zone, Mary Mackey takes you on a fascinating journey to the interior, somewhere between Saint Theresa’s Inner Castle and the thicket of Eros—but also a place of desperate actuality, even if it is on the other side of the world. Mackey joins other visionary poets of dépaysement—Henri Michaux in Asia, John Ash in Anatolia, Sharon Doubiago in Peru, Lorca in Manhattan. But Mackey really seems to recover a lost part of herself in the edgy lyricism of the tropics, haunted by fado, forró, and death. Please read ‘Cold Snap’’ who but Mackey could have written it? Sugar Zone authoritatively creates a language and a culture; but the lines are tense with the vulnerability of lovers, strangers, and travelers with no ticket home.” --Dennis Nurkse
“Mary Mackey’s new collection Sugar Zone is the culmination of many trips to Brazil. Most poems crackle with lush imagery; others are stark and draw their strength from the wisdom of the saying. These are death haunted poems but full of the vitality of the jungle, the favelas of Rio, the Amazon itself.” --Marge Piercy
“Mackey’s crisp-edged perceptions are set down in these poems with a sensuous, compassionate, and utterly unflinching eye.” --Jane Hirshfield
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||763 KB|
About the Author
Mary Mackey received a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The University of Michigan. Her published works include six collections of poetry, including BREAKING THE FEVER (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006) and SUGAR ZONE (Marsh Hawk Press, 2011) and twelve novels. Her poems have been praised by Wendell Berry, Jane Hirshfield, Dennis Nurkse, Ron Hansen, Dennis Schmitz, and Marge Piercy for their beauty, precision, originality, and extraordinary range. Three times Garrison Keillor has featured her poetry on his program The Writer's Almanac. Mackey's work has been translated into twelve foreign languages including Japanese, Hebrew, Greek, Russian, and Finnish. She is past president of the West Coast branch of PEN, a Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Professor Emeritus of English at California State University, Sacramento. For the last twenty years she has been traveling to Brazil with her husband, Angus Wright, who writes about land reform and environmental issues. At present she is working on a series of poems inspired by the works of Brazilian poets and novelists. Combining Portuguese and English, she creates poems that use Portuguese as incantation to evoke the lyrical space that lies at the conjunction between Portuguese and English.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sugar Zone is one of those hidden gems. It is a tapestry of two languages interwoven, and its exploration of human nature becomes deeper and richer through its use of English and Portuguese. Though some poems are choppy and difficult to navigate, I found most of the poems to have a fluidity and accessibility that I think is often lacking in contemporary poetry. More impressively, the subdivisions of the book masterfully represent tonal shifts in the writing. Some of the poems are a bit edgy and may offend certain readers. However, Mackey is a true wordsmith and her collection is a pleasure to read. I highly recommend Sugar Zone.