Review of Now That We're Here by Elizabeth Rees
Winner of the 2007 Spire Poetry Chapbook Award
Now That We’re Here
(c)2008, Elizabeth Rees ISBN 13: 978-1-934828-01-4, $8.00.
“It is surprising to find in any book so many poems which reward patient reading, so many poems to pass along. That the gorgeously associative poems of Elizabeth Rees are rooted in female lifeâ€”its floods and its cycles–is much less a surprise. The oldest story is not by or about men. The same will be true of our greatest poem.” – Austin Hummell, poetry editor of PASSAGES NORTH
â€œElizabeth Rees offers us a Cantata for Grief, a vessel in which to collect our tears. She realizes that X doesnâ€™t necessarily mark the spot where treasure is buried. And like Persephone, her peripatetic search for the way home leads to all things past and future, all things seen and unseen, all things transcendent and truly holy.â€ -Richard Peabody, editor of Gargoyle Magazine
“Elizabeth Rees begins Now That Weâ€™re Here with a poem shaped like a key, and we smile to discover it opens up a collection of road poemsâ€”driving to get away or to discover or simply to enjoy the ride. Rees also trusts us with the key to her home as she explores domestic themesâ€”family, love, sex, childbirth, and death. Finally, the key sets the tone: with musical phrasing and rich, figurative language, these poems move from playfulness to wonder to grief to tender resignation without a false note.”- Richard Newman, author of Borrowed Towns, editor of River Styx
Elizabeth Rees was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and received her B.A. from Wesleyan University (CT), and M.A. from Boston University, where she received a full fellowship and teaching fellowship. Her first chapbook, Balancing China, won the Sow’s Ear Press national contest, and was published in the spring of 1999. A second chapbook, Hard Characters, was published by March Street Press in the fall of 2002. Her first full-length collection of poems, Returning from Egypt has been a finalist in several national contests, including at Carnegie Mellon University Press and Ohio State University Press.
Elizabeth has published over 250 poems in such journals as: Agni, Kenyon Review, Partisan Review, River Styx, Northwest Review, Mid-American Review, and New England Review. She was a 1990 recipient of a Washington D.C. Commission for the Arts grant in Poetry and received a fellowship in poetry from the Montgomery County Council for the Arts (MD) in 1997. In 2002, she won two local contests, The first was from the Arlington County Arts Council (VA) “Moving Words” contest in which one of her poems appeared on buses in northern Virginia. The second was from the Montgomery County Arts Council (MD) “Artists’ Benches” contest in which three of her poems were engraved on benches in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. Her poem “Dig” won first prize in SWINK’s 2005 national contest and the poem “People of the Word,” won second prize in the Ann Stanford contest.
For 15 years, Elizabeth Rees has taught creative writing and literature full-time at universities including the U.S. Naval Academy, Johns Hopkins University’s graduate program in Washington, D.C., Howard University, Macalester College, Boston University and Boston College. Currently, she works as a Poet-in-the-Schools for the Maryland State Arts Council, teaches at The Writer’s Center and in the New Directions Psychoanalytic Writing Program in Washington, D.C., and serves as a writing consultant to PBS/Scholastic.
Visit Spire Press here.