In her haunting fourth collection, National Poetry Series winner Joan Murray takes the challenge of performing poetry’s original and still necessary tasks in the uncertain landscape of a new millennium.
Widely praised for the exceptional humanity and technical virtuosity of her earlier collections, Murray now explores the daily struggles of life and death in the natural world, the hidden pleasures and ironies of life in small-town America, the vulnerable underside of artistic communities, and the myriad complexities that pervade our dreams and relationships in this new century. With wit, generosity, and unflinching honesty, Murray gives us poems that mourn and praise, illuminate and challenge.
“Joan Murray’s poems are graced with an intensity of observation and a deep affection for the life around us. Dancing On the Edge is a lively, winning collection.” —Billy Collins
“One of the few poets whose work remains accessible to both scholars of poetry and the casual reader. . . . Her finely wrought free-form verse reads as easily as prose despite its dense, lush imagery. Reading Murray’s poems is a sensual experience.” —The Harvard Review
“Murray has a remarkable talent for giving full value to her own experiences while placing them firmly within a common social context. Most poets, accurately or not, portray themselves as outsiders; Murray does not.” —The Hudson Review
“Testament to the surprise and beauty that poetry can still be. . . . She has [a] love of the hypnotic wash of the words over the ear, the dedication to sounds, and the love of dramatic gesture.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Her simple lyric tone unteases the complexities of the images which move her. She finds a universal significance . . . a timeless truth. . . . She never fights shy of big issues.” —The Times (London)
“Murray sustains the emotion and offers an eminently readable rhythmic narrative that crackles with candor and wry sagacity.” —Detroit Free Press