Swimming For The Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015

Swimming For The Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015

by Joan Murray
Swimming For The Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015

Swimming For The Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015

by Joan Murray


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"One of the few poets whose work remains accessible to both scholars of poetry and the casual reader. . . . Her finely wrought free-form verse reads as easily as prose despite its dense, lush imagery."—The Harvard Review

"Working in free verse, Murray is a master of the single unforgettable detail. Her accessible image-driven narratives harness the urgency of their moral or social context while staying true to the pacing and music of daily life."—The Poetry Foundation (publisher of Poetry magazine)

Swimming for the Ark demonstrates why Joan Murray is praised as one of the leading narrative poets of our time. This career-defining book offers twenty-two new poems along with generous selections from her earlier books: The Same Water (winner of the Wesleyan New Poets Series), Looking for the Parade (winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition), Queen of the Mist (the Niagara narrative which won her a Broadway commission), and Dancing on the Edge.

This highly engaging book vividly dramatizes an urban youth and a rural life, along with deeper concerns about history, art, and injustice.

From "Doorway":

Of course we said we'd help you—
the cops were after you, you said, and we were
rebel girls, weren't we? the four of us fifteen,
the same age you said you were, when we crammed together in the doorway of a gated store,
the windows full of knives, vibrators, transistor radios.
I was the only one who understood:
Lemony blond, sweet-voiced for a boy,
you hid behind our Tangee lipstick, our teased-up
hair-dos, the wispy-angora sweaters I can see in the photo-booth photos I still have here . . .

Joan Murray is the author of four prize-winning collections (from W. W. Norton, Wesleyan, and Beacon Press). She has been a repeat guest on NPR's Morning Edition and is editor of the Poems to Live By anthologies and The Pushcart Book of Poetry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935210634
Publisher: White Pine Press
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Series: White Pine Press Distinguished Poets Series
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Joan Murray: Joan Murray is a poet, writer, and playwright, whose books include: Looking for the Parade (W. W. Norton), Dancing on the Edge and Queen of the Mist (both from Beacon Press), and The Same Water (Wesleyan UniversityPress).

Table of Contents

New Poems

Contender 13

Family Dollar 14

What Was Expected 15

The Copier 16

The Gypsy Child 18

The Ivory Billed One 20

Looking at the Birds 21

Max and Rose 24

The Witch's Daughter 25

Just Taste Them 26

The Gardener's Wife 28

Swimming for the Ark 29

Doorway 32

The Well 35

White Bridge Road 38

Lifeline 39

The Trees 41

Wracked Blue Suitcase 43

Funnel 45

Tomma and Sammy 46

Rear View Mirror 47

Deer in the Apples 49

Forsythia 50

The Same Water (1990)

from Coming of Age on the Harlem 55

from The Unmolested Child 61

The Precarious Nest 69

The Grotte des Infants 74

Larkspur 85

The Same Water 87

My Father's Last Words During the Breeders' Cup 91

Queen of the Mist (1999)

Initiation 95

The Phenomenon 96

Doing Cartwheels 98

A Woman's Options 100

Fiat! 103

"She's Coming!" 105

Descent 107

Return 109

Debriefing 111

Visio Beatifica 114

The Window 116

Crawl on All Fours 118

Solo Flight 120

Immutability Canto 123

Last Days 125

Looking for the Parade (1999)

Her Head 131

Taking the Count 133

Sonny's Hands 135

Play by Play 139

Possession 141

The Black Dog; On Being a Poet 143

What to Do with an Incriworm 145

Breath 147

from Autumn in Eden 149

The Good "Bad Kids" 152

Peterborough Pet Store 154

20th Century Creativity 158

from Looking for the Parade 160

Dancing on the Edge (2002)

The Fence 169

Eternity 171

Now We Know 173

Master of the Situation 177

For Anonymous 179

Toby's Body 180

What Makes Us Happy 182

The Division of Labor 184

Being Light 185

The Mine 187

The Hunt 189

Where It's Taking Us 191

Jumpers 194

Dancing on the Edge 197

Song Overheard in a Field 200

Acknowledgments 202

The Author 203

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