Black Lawrence Press

A Sunny Place with Adequate Water

A Sunny Place with Adequate Water

In her third full-length collection, A Sunny Place with Adequate Water, Mary Biddinger untangles past from present, through poems preoccupied with gentrification, imaginary coin-operated machinery, and an uncanny doubling of good and wicked selves. As “Some Dead Magic” testifies, “Even streetlamps couldn’t help themselves. // Where could they possibly lead us? There wasn’t / any magic left in the world, only stray newspapers.” The poems of this book hope that history will somehow provide insight for our current moment, while acknowledging the necessary transformation of desire over time. Part nostalgia recast as seductive angst, part pastoral (and anti-pastoral), these poems explore small town legends in a landscape of longing, displacement, looming disaster, and unexpected joy.

Praise

  • A little surreal, a little nostalgic, Mary Biddinger’s remarkable new collection describes the challenge of growing up a nascent artist in a sometimes resistant, but always-clamorous neighborhood. The speaker evolves from a girl who reverses herself “until there wasn’t anything left” into someone who wants to live in the burn, and each poem invokes both the visible and invisible mechanisms that uphold a small town. I’m as moved by this book’s incisive take on personal history as I was by James Tate's Lost Pilot.

    –Carmen Giménez Smith
  • These poems proceed by way of declaration & juxtaposition, through keen sight & keener insight. Which is another way of saying that Mary Biddinger sees things & sees through things equally, not privileging one vision over the other. What we have here is our regular old world made richer & more insidious, a place where “the punishments were just as lavish as the draperies,” a home we get to see as if for the first time.
    –Nate Pritts

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Mary Biddinger

Mary Biddinger is the author of six full-length poetry collections, most recently Small Enterprise and The Czar (with Jay Robinson), both from Black Lawrence Press. Her work has recently appeared in numerous journals including Denver QuarterlyDiode, Five Points, Green Mountains ReviewGrimoire, JubilatThe Laurel Review, and Pleiades, among others. Biddinger received a 2015 NEA creative writing fellowship in poetry. She edits the Akron Series in Poetry and is a Professor of English at the University of Akron. Her first collection of prose poems, Partial Genius, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2019.

Biddinger Author page

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