Mother Quiet


Mother Quiet

Martha Rhodes

61 pages


November 2004


$14.95 Add to Cart

Author Bio

Martha Rhodes is the author of two previous collections, Perfect Disappearance and At the Gate. She teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, New School University, and at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is a founding editor and the director of the independent literary press Four Way Books.


"The aim of poetry (and the higher kind of thriller) is. . . . to be unexpected and memorable. So a poem about death might treat it in a way that combines the bizarre and the banal: the Other Side as some kind of institution—a creepy hospital, an officious hotel or retirement home. Martha Rhodes takes such an approach in 'Ambassadors to the Dead,' from her abrupt, unsettling, artfully distorted, indelible new book Mother Quiet. . . . Blending the matter-of-fact with the surreal, as a way of comprehending the stunning, final reality, Rhodes is an inheritor of Emily Dickinson's many poems on the same subject."—Robert Pinsky, The Washington Post

“What is the difference, asks Martha Rhodes, between forgetting and being forgotten? Why do our most primal images of self-definition—the house, the childhood bedroom, the mother’s body—become more vaporous the more we speak? The poems of Mother Quiet don’t just ask these questions; they inhabit these questions. . . . ‘The inside of her mouth was black and airless,’ says Rhodes of the dead mother, and the image is at once a poet’s blessing and a poet’s curse. Weird, dark, hilarious, direct, otherworldly—these poems display a poet in command of every note the English language is capable of sounding. They will not be silenced: they are unforgettable.”—James Longenbach, author of Fleet River and Modern Poetry after Modernism