by Maurya Simon '80
The poems in Cartographies travel new territory, exploring the heart's changeable cartography and the soul's uneven terrain. They map the familiar, sometimes astonishing, and always complex world of the poet's native San Gabriel Mountains, as well as nearby Los Angeles, with its cultural richness and social/political tensions. Divided into four sections—The Soul, The Self, Mountains, The City—Cartographies investigates and fathoms our most profound relationships with time, nature, love, and death. In poem after poem, Simon finds meaning in unexpected locales, from a hospital AIDS ward to the “Rorschach” on a butterfly's wings to a barrio bakery, and in the briefest of moments, evoked by the plaintive voice of a spider, or provoked by a breathless escape from an avalanche. With great clarity and eloquence, these poems record and dramatize the persistent paradoxes present in our daily lives, those interstices of yearning and mourning, fear and celebration, or anguish and amazement that reveal the deep wells and turbulence of human consciousness. With consummate craftsmanship and inner grace, Simon apprehends the elegiac within the purest moments of joy, and intimates catharsis within despair. She opens the mind's windows to myriad small miracles provoked by the barest glimmers of wonder and hope.
Praise for Cartographies
With poems that mean to “unravel the wind's calligraphies, / letter by letter, and spell myself into the world,” Maurya Simon
continues to build a remarkable body of work, rich in its musical textures and generous in its inclusive gestures: “the dead love us,”
she affirms, “with tacit tenderness.” If “the world . . . is a place of soul-making,” as Keats insisted, these poems
both measure and advance our progress toward forging an animating principle that's spiritual, erotic, and resplendent with praise.
In her lucidity and eloquence, Maurya Simon remains one of our best poets.
Cartographies is a read for anyone who loves poetry. You can love its carefully poised outsailings or its nimble shape or its buoyant,
zesty voice that's enthusiastically into everything. I love it for the poet who writes wonderfully about dogs, about a tricky sister,
about Burt Reynolds in the mall, about the Kuwaiti Zoo, all of which seems to support her saying “I do not like to think about my
life.” That's what I most love, her feinting humor, a brassy woman whose life becomes a kind of navigational aid for the rest of us.
These poems make me think I'd like to go to dinner with their author. Who wouldn't? The art here is in making a life luminous.
Named Book of the Month for March 2008 by the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences
Red Hen Press, 2008 · 104 pages · $18.95
A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American Hero
by Gina Capaldi '06
This story reveals the remarkable life of a Native American boy named Wassaja, or “Beckoning,” who was kidnapped from his Yavapai tribe and sold as a slave. Adopted by an Italian photographer in 1871 and renamed Carlos Montezuma, the young boy traveled throughout the Old West, bearing witness to the prejudice against and poor treatment of Native Americans. Carlos eventually became a doctor and leader for his people, calling out for their rights.
Gina Capaldi's exquisite paintings bring to life excerpts from Dr. Carlos Montezuma's own letters describing his childhood experiences. The culminating portrait provides an inventive look back into history through the eyes of a Native American hero.
Carolrhoda Books, 2008 · 32 pages · $16.95
Surprise Motherhood: A Guide to Unexpected Adult Pregnancy
by Ophelia Liza Austin-Small '00
Pregnancy books on the market have one of two audiences—the teen with an unplanned pregnancy or the adult with a planned and chosen one. Nowhere is there a book for the almost 3 million adult women facing surprise pregnancy every year. Surprise Motherhood is aimed directly at that gap, telling the stories of Austin—Small and other women who have faced unplanned pregnancy as adult, professional women. With extensive information about options, paternity, career issues, postpartum depression, finances, and more, Surprise Motherhood is the only reference of its kind, and is sure to be an invaluable reader resource.
Lulu, 2007 · 193 pages · $20.95