Tender the River: Poems

Tender the River: Poems

by Matt W. Miller, Andre Dubus III

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Tender the River captures in verse the history and legacy of the Merrimack River Valley, from the Pennacook, Wamesit, Algonquin, and other indigenous tribes who settled there first, to the European settlers who came with guns and their god to supplant them, to being the birthplace of America’s industrial revolution and first labor movements, to becoming a center of continued immigration, of entrenched nativism, and even multicultural celebration. The Merrimack River begins with the confluence of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers spilling from the White Mountains in New Hampshire, then travels down through mill towns like Manchester, Lowell, and Haverhill to finally spit out violently into the Atlantic in the old port (now posh) town of Newburyport. In its journey between those points and as well across the centuries, the Merrimack River Valley has been America in microcosm, many of the nation’s democratic successes and demagogic sins being seeded there.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781680032253
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Publication date: 05/03/2021
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 116
File size: 682 KB

About the Author

MATT W. MILLER grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts and is the author of the poetry collections The Wounded for the Water (Salmon Poetry), Club Icarus, selected by Major Jackson as the winner of the 2012 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize and Cameo Diner: Poems. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Poetry at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, he teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy and lives with his family in coastal New Hampshire.

Read an Excerpt

from “Autobiography”

For a moment I was a failed skip of stone
sunk into the river for a moment I was the river
purling in long last shadows of September
for a moment I was a skinny grizzly spitting
into a beer can for a time I was Christmas
lights wrapping around downtown’s smokestack
until I became a book filled with baby teeth

Table of Contents

Foreword Andre Dubus III xi

Autobiography xvi


Invocation at the Merrimack 2

Boys Beyond June 5

Ghazal: Augumtoocooke 7

Eve, Bumming a Smoke on a Porch in Pawtucketville 9

Said the River When I Begged for Her Song 10

Third Day, Friday, May 1, 1992 12

Real Life 14

Saving Throw 16

Said the River When I Begged for His Song 18

Tankas While Standing Near 19

On My Mom Showing Me that Photo 20

Insidious 21

The Adorned Fathomless Dark Creation 24

Legend 26

Conditional 32

Said the River When I Begged for Their Song 33


River Valley Hexaëmera

Lunae 37

Martis 38

Mercurii 39

Lovis 40

Veneris 41

Saturni 42

Solis 43


Winter Break 46

Ceremony Drowned 48

Hannah in Effigy 50

Misprision 52

A Brief History of American Labor 54

Textile Triolet 55

To My Daughter at Thirteen 56

Sapphic 58

Zenith of a Given Place 59

Getting Out 60

Oh Father, Your Fear 62

Age of Discovery 63

Then I Let the Alpine Play 65

Ars Poetica 67

Where One Starts From 69

When I Am My Brother Fishing with Deron 71

Arthur's 73

Echo Tourism 76


A Crack of Light 80

Acknowledgments 93

About the Author 97

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