By turns quirky, startling, earthy, and hope-filled, Micheline Maylor's poems slip effortlessly through topics ranging from what we give up as we age to regrets for love that has passed, the interplay between the animal world and human thought, and the myths we append to ourselves and others. An expansive, conversational voice underscores the poet's technical mastery as her subjects turn from love to hope to fearlessness. Maylor asks readers to perceive how we inhabit our selves, how words construct us. Little Wildheart is rich with challenge and surprise.
I check the box on the government forms: Caucasian. No box
for colonized, for the 1/16th bred. Just the double helix of my DNA,
my ability to sun-brown, and my own green-eyed children
of the voyageur, river visions still caught in their irises.
We're born out of a long ago season.
Everyone is sure of place and race. Blood and semen
mixed in dirt and cervix, convex and enchanted by muskrat's eerie smile,
dark truth furred and matted, stroked by a river paddle.
Let that long tooth bite now in the land of the race riots,
negro, and redskin, the underground railroad,
and the Indian village.
Let the name Pontiac take new form and hit the road,
the righteous mile where judgement and boundary blurs,
especially on matters of composition
blood, bone, and relations.
—from "Detroit Zoo bathroom 1977"
About the Author
"In Little Wildheart, Micheline Maylor writes poems that chart the vagaries of love, its cycles of loss and renewal, followed by a realization about the joy and freedom in reinhabiting the self without outside commitment.... Maylor draws images from an elementary and animal world to reflect the psyche and its spiritual progress. Allusive and elusive, educated and down-to-earth, witty and conversational, these oftentimes rollicking poems are fine-tuned with technical skill and strict formalist measures." (Full review at http://www.prairiefire.ca/little-wildheart-micheline-maylor/?cn=bWVudGlvbg%3D%3D)—Gillian Harding-Russell, Prairie Fire
"... this and other poems are most memorable for how Maylor varies phrases to lure and surprise her reader. If Maylor is playing with the conventions of the lyric sentence, she's playing with the conventions of poetry itself in the book's formal pieces... Little Wildheart is a complicated book of deceptively simple parts."—Jacob McArthur Mooney, Quill & Quire
"... fuses the personal and visceral to the mythological and metaphysical. In turns surprising and affective, Maylor's collection presents a bodily, sensory intervention at the intersection between human and animal, intellectual and ephemeral.... [S]he examines, even blueprints, the terrain of human fear, desire, apathy, confusion, elation, and release through unexpected and generative associations. Poems...showcase Maylor's imaginative capacity and draw in the reader with maddening ferocity—we stand at the edge of the abyss that Maylor invokes alongside the speaker.... Her diction is dense yet comprehensible and is well suited to both the casual reader of poetry and those seeking a linguistic challenge.... [N]uanced and masterful poetic technique." Canadian Literature 234 (Autumn 2017) [Full review at http://canlit.ca/article/humanmythos]—Emily Bednarz
The way the world loves us bubbles up as our desire for each other at first, but in the end that love is our desire's opposite. This is the puzzle: we are born facing away from what we might have; our entire life is learning how to turn around. That turning is the work of this book. And it is beautiful.—Richard Harrison
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