While at the Flannery O'Connor conference in Milledgeville, Ga. two weeks ago, I had the great good luck of meeting Marianne Boruch, one of the featured readers. I liked her immediately. We were standing in the Andalucia farmhouse kitchen, remarking on how it reminded us of our grandmothers' kitchens. Later in the week we talked about all sorts of things. Her reading was memorable, her talk on Flannery O'Connor and Elizabeth Bishop brilliant, to use an overworked description. In so many ways she reminded me of my friend Mary Adams, herself a brilliant poet and essayist, and although their poetic styles are not that much alike, the ways their imaginations work seem to me to be in sync. I'm pairing them today to show how writers connect without even knowing each other. Marianne and Mary seem sisters in poetic spirit to me. I hope you enjoy reading their poems.
Poet and essayist Marianne Boruch grew up in Chicago and received a BS from the University of Illinois and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Grace, Fallen from (2008); Poems New & Selected (2004), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Moss Burning(1993). Her essay collections include In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations (2005) and Poetry’s Old Air (1995). In an interview with Brooke Horvath for the Denver Quarterly, Boruch noted, “Both poetry and the essay come from the same impulse—to think about something and at the same time, see it closely, carefully, and enact it.”
Boruch’s lyric poems often shake an ordinary moment from its shell, separating strands of thought and habit with a gaze at once wry, self-conscious, and unblinking. As poet and Oberlin College Press editor David Young observes, “Her poems are contained, steady, and exceptionally precise. They build toward blazing insights with the utmost honesty and care.”
Boruch has taught at Purdue University since the inception of their MFA program, and was honored with their College of Liberal Arts Teaching Excellence Award. She also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College.