Mayapple Press is a small literary press founded in 1978 by poet and editor Judith Kerman. We celebrate literature that is both challenging and accessible: poetry that transcends the categories of "mainstream" and "avant-garde"; women's writing; the Great Lakes/Northeastern culture; the recent immigrant experience; poetry in translation; science fiction poetry.
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“Without Angels” recommended by Seminary Ridge Review


This recommendation was published in Seminary Ridge Review 17:1 – Autumn 2014
For more information and subscriptions write to
Seminary Ridge Press, Lutheran Theological Seminary, 61 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg PA 17325

Book Recommendations

Without Angels

The angel references in Marjorie Stelmach’s newest book are not what we’re used to. In these poems, imagination and faith and the language of science go for walks together. Would you expect to find terms like “Ockham’s Razor,” “flawed photons,” or “pewter bead of mercury” in a collection called Without Angels? Watch how she opens “Stay”:

          A storm of gnats caught golden
          in the lowering sun
               rises from the grasses
          and floats, a trembling globe,
          into its own absence.
                    Might I as easily disappear
          through a hole in space no larger than
          this willingness?

          As if a passing angel sensed in me
          a leaning
               verging on assent—
          a lightness an angel might interpret
          as a lack of faithfulness
                         to earth— (33)

In this intricate collection, poems feel both three dimensional and tangibly mysterious. The poem “Traits of the Angels,” for example, lists descriptions of traits from their “speed” to “taste” to “areas of expertise.” (11)

She continues shaping these poems in the human proximity to the presence of angels. The questions and thoughts of human beings trying to make sense of what unfolds around them are important here. Grief, personality, Bible stories and the physical world are found throughout the collection. From men at Christ’s tomb to a maid at a casino hotel in the desert there is a quality of examination and thoroughness here. The perspectives are so interesting that it is a rich and revealing rather than a complicated examination.

This recommendation was published in Seminary Ridge Review 17:1 – Autumn 2014
For more information and subscriptions write to
Seminary Ridge Press,
Lutheran Theological Seminary,
61 Seminary Ridge,
Gettysburg PA 17325