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A Sunny Place with Adequate Water

Publication Date: May 2014

About

In her third full-length collection, A Sunny Place with Adequate Water, Mary Biddinger untangles past from present, through poems preoccupied with gentrification, imaginary coin-operated machinery, and an uncanny doubling of good and wicked selves. As “Some Dead Magic” testifies, “Even streetlamps couldn’t help themselves. // Where could they possibly lead us? There wasn’t / any magic left in the world, only stray newspapers.” The poems of this book hope that history will somehow provide insight for our current moment, while acknowledging the necessary transformation of desire over time. Part nostalgia recast as seductive angst, part pastoral (and anti-pastoral), these poems explore small town legends in a landscape of longing, displacement, looming disaster, and unexpected joy.

Praise

A little surreal, a little nostalgic, Mary Biddinger’s remarkable new collection describes the challenge of growing up a nascent artist in a sometimes resistant, but always-clamorous neighborhood. The speaker evolves from a girl who reverses herself “until there wasn’t anything left” into someone who wants to live in the burn, and each poem invokes both the visible and invisible mechanisms that uphold a small town. I’m as moved by this book’s incisive take on personal history as I was by James Tate’s Lost Pilot.


–Carmen Giménez Smith

These poems proceed by way of declaration & juxtaposition, through keen sight & keener insight. Which is another way of saying that Mary Biddinger sees things & sees through things equally, not privileging one vision over the other. What we have here is our regular old world made richer & more insidious, a place where “the punishments were just as lavish as the draperies” a home we get to see as if for the first time.

–Nate Pritts

About the Author

Mary Biddinger

Mary Biddinger is the author of six full-length collections of poetry, most recently Partial Genius: Prose Poems. She teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Akron, and edits the Akron Series in Poetry for the University of Akron Press. Poems and flash fiction have recently appeared in The Adroit Journal, The Laurel Review, On the Seawall, Poetry, Southern Indiana Review, and Waxwing, among others. Biddinger has been the recipient of three Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and the 2019 Mid-Career Cleveland Arts Prize in literature. Her current project is a flash fiction manuscript about the adventures of two graduate school roommates in late 1990s Chicago. Her seventh full-length collection of poems, Department of Elegy, will be published by Black Lawrence Press in early 2022.

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