Late Self-Portraits (Wheelbarrow Books) (Paperback)

Late Self-Portraits (Wheelbarrow Books) By Mary Morris Cover Image

Late Self-Portraits (Wheelbarrow Books) (Paperback)


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A compelling collection of poems, Late Self-Portraits conveys an intimate description of lives through a collage of portraits and affliction. Weaving history and the sacred, both intimate and worldly, one encounters a blind Jorge Luis Borges with his mother, a glass confessional in the of Notre Dame Cathedral, Frida Kahlo in Mexico, ghosts, a neurosurgeon’s prognosis, and Marie Laveau in New Orleans. Whether in a field with Joan of Arc, encountering the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, or having dinner with Hades, these are haunting poems of loss and unearthing, equally bold, personal, and tender.

From “Dinner with Hades”:

He shows me a birthday cake, candled. My name is written in pomegranate
seeds. It’s like vertigo. Just before he seeks to devour, he halts to birdsong—
sound of goldfinch, bluebird, hawk, lilting of sparrows. Of whippoorwill
and dove. Wings flap, so many wings, a cool breeze as leaves unfurl into a
once forgotten green and I am back on earth, held in my mother’s arms.
MARY MORRIS is the author of two previous books of poetry, Enter Water, Swimmer and Dear October, and is a recipient of the Rita Dove Award (2008), Western Humanities Review’s Mountain West Writers’ Prize (2019), the New Mexico Discovery Award (2005), and the National Federation of Press Women’s National Communications Contest Award (2021), and is a finalist for the 2021 International Book Awards.
Product Details ISBN: 9781611864229
ISBN-10: 1611864224
Publisher: Wheelbarrow Books
Publication Date: February 1st, 2022
Pages: 88
Language: English
Series: Wheelbarrow Books
In Late Self-Portraits Mary Morris writes of bodily experiences that cannot ultimately be arrested. Celestial and earthly, peeling back ordinary conceptions of time and space, her poems reach from imagining the interior of the body to experiences of disembodiment. Here, the body is a directional signal pointing outward beyond itself. Her overarching visions, attuned to marvels, create an almost otherworldly sheen in these questing, exacting, deeply realized poems that are radiantly elegant and—in the best sense—unsettling.—Lee Upton, author of Visitations: Stories and Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles

In the spirit of the great painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the poet Mary Morris, in her luminous Late Self-Portraits, takes on medicine and illness, aging and death, art and spirituality, releasing from the darkness a profound light of transcendence and revelation. She reconciles the body that always betrays us, with the wholeness of nature and our place in it, energy temporal in forms but eternal in belonging. Through masterfully crafted and emotionally complex poems, many of them portraits of herself through the lens of strong women in history, like Joan of Arc and Harriet Tubman, and the deconstruction of great men, like Rembrandt and Caravaggio, Morris brings together the soul and physical body into one great mural of the self in cohesion with others, the universe, and the divine.—Heathen (Heather Derr-Smith), author of Thrust

Late Self-Portraits is a ravishing memento mori by a poet in whose skilled hands death, lost love, even her own epileptic seizures become occasions for wonder and rhapsody. Mary Morris refuses a faith that sanctifies guilt and renunciation, conjuring instead a new religion where “bloody icons” are
replaced by sunlit mountain temples. She is a poet who sings in the pyre. Like her beloved Joan of Arc, she is “aflame for our world.”—Frank Paino, author of Obscura