Poems by Maureen Seaton


Maureen Seaton

Maureen Seaton’s poems throw “the chicken spread-eagled on the butcher block” creating word play that stirs the grotesque and the sacred in the same pot. Her latest collection Furious Cooking (University of Iowa, 1996), winner of the Iowa Prize for poetry and the Lambda Book Award, creates both blood-red images and gauzy, mysterious notions. In the poem “The Red Hills” her first two lines decapitate the reader with “[t]he power of the world is round:/ bomb, uterus, cul-de-sac.” Yet finishes with the tender “[i]n the darkness we are all holy.”

Susan Wheeler writes in the Boston Review that “Seaton’s language is a match for her fierce gaze.” Seaton’s “gaze” spills across politics, society, religion, art and history with the dictionary under the seat and the vernacular speeding behind the wheel. In the poem “Malleus Maleficarum” she bombards readers with her forceful language “[l]ike a youngster’s guts spilled/ on the sidewalk of the Lincoln Avenue bridge./ I caused nothing, simpletons, yet you rush to apply thumb screws to make confession/ inevitable.” But to avoid predictablity she also creates the unexpected moment of softness in the poem “Swan Lake,” “[t]he night swells around us./Our voices, tense with lightening,/ create a new silence.”

Seaton’s other volumes of poetry include Exquisite Politics (with Denise Duhamel, Tia Chucha Press, 1997), The Sea among the Cupboards (New Rivers Press, 1992), winner of the Capricorn Award and The Society of Midland Authors Award; and Fear of Subways (Eighth Mountain, 1991), winner of the Eighth Mountain Prize.

Her poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, New England Review, The Iowa Review, Massachusetts Review, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and  Ploughshares. She has also received grants from the NEA fellowship and the Illinois Arts Council. She has an MFA from Vermont College.







Poetry Center Reading:

(with Denise Duhamel)

    Fall 1997