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Books Noted: Mary Ann Samyn, Beauty Breaks In


New Issues, 2009

The poems in Mary Ann Samyn's new book of poetry are punchy, funny investigations. They incorporate lyrics that sound like speech, speech that feels like thought, and thought that extends the boundaries of narrative and linearity. Samyn gets at experience by responding to her own thinking, and her thinking is wildly unique. Donald Revell writes, "Mary Ann Samyn is a devotional poet, one devoted to the mischief and sanctity of a threshold life...'A little mayhem goes a long way' as Samyn avows, and I rejoice to believe her." Samyn's genuine curiosity pushes her to follow her questions as they come. She writes in "Suppose We Make That Assumption":

These trees were cut illegally.

Which leaves us what? And why?

I'm reminded of rhythmic gymnastics,
which may or may not be a sport,
which entrances as it perplexes.

Samyn too entrances as she perplexes, questions, and finds her own mind in the answers. The poem ends, "How will you know me dressed as I am / in rhetoric and light?" We know her as a writer whose rhetoric and light draw us into her world.

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