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Book Title

May Day

Author 1
Gretchen Marquette
Poem Excerpt
                        You arrive at my altar
            with no idea               
what it means to worship—to adore.
            You haven’t even learned it:
ecstasy and suffering?
            make the same face.

—from “The Offering”
May Day is both a distress call and a celebration of the arrival of spring. In this rich and unusually assured first collection, the poet Gretchen Marquette writes of the losses of a brother gone off to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a great love that has left the world charged with absence and grief. But there is also the wonder of the natural world: the deer at the edge of the forest, the dog reliably coaxing the poet beyond herself and into the city park where by tradition every May Day is pageantry, a festival of surviving the long winter. “What does it mean to be in love?” one poem asks. “As it turns out, / the second best thing that can happen to you / is a broken heart.”
May Day introduces readers to a new poet of depth and power.


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An emotionally resonant debut collection by an extraordinary new poet

About the Author

Gretchen  Marquette
Gretchen Marquette is the author of May Day, and has published poems in Harper’s, the Paris Review, Poetry, and Tin House. She lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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  • “The poems [in May Day] plumb stories of lost love and anxiety, but each unearths glimpses of life’s wonder.”—Euan Kerr, MPR
  • May Day [is] one of the more moving debuts of poetry I’ve encountered in years. . . . These are poems of our time.”The Brooklyn Rail
  • “Lovely, dark, haunted, and haunting. . . . [Marquette’s] subjects . . . are so carefully handled, with such resolve and resignation. . . . Readers will remember this book.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “Emotionally raw yet sensual poems plumb the depths of nature as well as the absence of loved ones.”City Pages
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