Molly Tenenbaum

Winner of the 2007 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Contest

ISBN 9780979374500

Cover art by Ellen Ziegler (www.ellenziegler.com)

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Molly Tenenbaum's Now is a valentine from a poet in love with the world, and she has found the words to prove it. Read these poems aloud; let them swirl in "your earhole's riviera." Follow her into her garden, kitchen, library, heart. She will not lead you astray or maybe she will, but you will eat well, laugh, dance, and cry. Nothing is ordinary—her peace march turns into a "peach march" and so much more. These poems are a sensual delight.

~Barbara Hamby

Molly Tenenbaum's new poems in Now are odes to living in the present, but they're far from simple Carpe diem's. Here the "new life" the speaker is intent on making is layered with memories of past pleasures and loss, and also with hopes and fears for the future. The poems celebrate the sensory immediacy of "mustard seeds jumping in ginger-oil" and "beautiful cucumber's palest green," but even the most vivid details resonate in an echo chamber of what was: "We'd unwrap lemon-flecked air," and what might have been: "a baby's raspberry lullaby lips." This making it new, keeping ourselves present for our own lives wherever they may lead, is no easy task, and the narrator procrastinates, makes lists, urges herself on: "Please weather open the stiff/ barn door of my chest." But she goes about it not just with great bravery, but with humor, playfulness, even joy: "I loved that word. Maroon, maroon." And, "I love the fall from struck string like fire on a rope...." The poems crackle with intelligence and wordplay, and their music transforms pain, sadness, the sensory world, everything they encounter, into a made life, into a work of art.
~Sharon Bryan



My real new life shows through
the life I'm in, blushing
off-orange or tingling after
the fork that fell. Nothing I've said
of it so far is right, but it will be creamy,
like unsalted butter, it will know
everything, even
how to stay crisp on the bottom,
how to be cut
without fruit sliding out,
will be pie itself, berries
bubbling their blue gluey mouths,
gold edges dissolving,
and slow
like the sun wants to be
but can't, poor sun, who would gaze
at the man doing dishes,
the woman quiet and reading,
would pause in the side yards
between the houses,
happy and sad in every color.

© 2007 by Molly Tenenbaum Now