Mary Ann Samyn

Paper $15.95
(ISBN 978-0932440-45-7)

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Winner of the 2012 FIELD Poetry Prize

"What does it mean to be alive?" Mary Ann Samyn asks in My Life in Heaven. "We’ll know when we’re ready," the poem answers. And, like the poet, we are ready for the time it takes to traverse these small lyrics: the voice memo icon is blinking and our most searing dispatches are on the record. Private but not claustral, personal but not narrative, Samyn's achievement is as purposeful and deliberate as the need to survive the end of things. As autumn knows and Samyn discovers, a clarifying vitality exists there. Observation, insight, tenderness, and humor accompany the poet and her readers from heartbreak-unto-death to afterlife-on-earth in this book. I rejoice in its misery, its finery, its charm, and its wisdom.
Kathy Fagan

"This is a true account beginning now," Mary Ann Samyn tells us in her book's title poem. And the view might well be from the heaven evoked there. Which is to say—heaven as lyric space, fiercely end-stopped, its claims and triumphs and hesitations all restlessly certain, maybe interchangeable, as if all poems were really one poem, this book of parts a scattering and a collection across and over an impossible expanse. My Life in Heaven is eerie; it's relentless. It has tides and weather but love is a continual grounding trouble. And Samyn sees things. "On the underside of each feather, a spine: / yellow like a secret," she dreams out loud, her eye direct, and to it.
 —Marianne Boruch




You Got Your Wish; I Got Mine

A cheer goes up. Then, down, of course. 
Other people deciding what more they want.

I'm no lonelier than I've been. Maybe less.
At church, suffering and ransom, another recap.

"Is that how we do it?" my mother asks,
meaning, as usual, God knows what.

Today's sun is buttery, is never you mind;
my attention span is shot. So, bravo, OK?

And just for the record, I made it look effortless.
Behind the scenes was another story.

The photo of this moment would break your heart.
Don't, not even for one minute, doubt that's true.


Stupidity, Crabbiness, Moorings & Love

One possible Jesus was Jesus, stubbornly.

For argument's sake, the clouds moved very fast.

Good show! I wanted to say.

The clarity is inside you is what I said instead.

The professor and students nodded yes, and no.

Like when your mouth opened against mine.

Keats was awfully young when he wrote those letters.

I am frequently reminded. 

What can I say? Seduction c. 1819 still sounds good.

The worst of it is mostly private.

Of what I asked myself.

Then snapped a photo in the hotel mirror.



Tending the Nectar

Little cracks in things. 
Little anticipations. 
The vase big as a balloon and shaped that way.

How will I ever get that home? was real. 
The wind used all its verbs to answer.
I'm trying not to make the same mistakes.

Now a waiting feeling keeps me up. 
Something greenish and delicate.
I'm confident but not that confident.

The smallest action is quite large.
The smallest appetite an appetite, still.
There's lots of brilliance.
Seeing myself in the floor-to-ceiling windows.
A picture of a bird discourages the real birds.
It's hard not to pose in this life.

Birch bark curls on the counter.
I can't learn fast enough.
The sunset, in my opinion, rushed the ending.


Copyright c 2013 by Mary Ann Samyn. May not be reproduced without permission.

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