In this series, we highlight books we think our readers may enjoy, written by authors affiliated with the Collegeville Institute. This month, we are excited to share three recent books of poetry written by Collegeville Institute alumni.
Ashland Poetry Press, 2021
Marjorie Stelmach, former writing workshop participant
“‘An artist worthy of her art would find a way / to capture this absence.’ Thus, Marjorie Stelmach chides herself for failing to quite discover a language equal to the deepest mysteries, death and loss. This piercing collection of poems, this anatomy of grief, plays out on the desolate shores of Ireland, a care center for the elderly, and in the poet’s memory and imagination. It is the simplest and oldest of stories: a daughter mourns her mother’s death. But in facing her anguish so directly, in struggling so courageously to give words and meaning to the unknowable, Stelmach has forged a terrible beauty. I can hardly imagine an artist worthier of her art.” – George Bilgere
WordTech Communications, 2020
By Marge Barrett, former writing workshop leader
These lyrical poems and prose poems reflect the cultural changes of Barrett’s lifetime, from ’50s bomb shelters, Russia and the Cold War to the current Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia. One reader noted, “There is a profound vulnerability in the collection. Barrett’s bold, open expression of love for family, friends, and her fellow humans is exposed and fully genuine. And there is a sincere, affectionate, way she has with us readers, as she guides us along new paths and shows us new ways, while still giving us credit for being smart…. This collection has it all, humor, intensity, sorrow and wisdom.”
Paraclete Press, 2021
By Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, former writing workshop participant
These poems map the privacy of home life and also a public pilgrimage through the landscape of pandemic, from dire disaster to the hope for healing, as O’Donnell marks a year of lockdown in a small village just outside New York City. Living amid Covid-19 has occasioned extraordinary outpourings of love over the past year. These poems recognize the public love of healthcare workers, front-line essential workers, helping sick and elderly neighbors and family, teachers ministering to students and their parents—all signs of our belief in the common good, as well as the many forms of private and personal love we practiced and continue to practice in the late stage of the pandemic.