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
As if a passing angel sensed in me
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.