Beast is aptly and perfectly named. From start to finish the poems in this collection are physical — resolutely alive to all that is alive in us, all-too-frail, all-too-human, ‘beasts’ with ‘ our self deceptions, encumbrances, limitations’ (“River Musk Perfume”). Yet at the same time, metaphysically, poem after poem turns a questioning, lively, and emotionally honest eye on how we ‘ pass our days, metering the hours now/until morning’s last solitary stars’ (“Reckonings”)
Beast is always much, much more than one poem facing another across a page, or simply following on. The sequencing throughout is both intelligent and instinctive — something as rare as it is wonderful. Poems call out, wait for an answer, and then listen. The protagonist of “Chores”, ‘wiping up messes- today’s/tomorrow’s – ‘ knows the truth that we, as humans, are simply custodians ‘of all things that fall apart’ ‘(Handyman’) These assured poems speak to each other before they turn to speak to us, and the collection as a living, breathing whole is all the more powerful as a result.
The poetic voice in Beast is sometimes raw, often compassionate, frequently beautiful, consistently real, and devoid of any posturing. This is mature work crafted by a mature poet in full command of her art. I am not at all surprised that it has been awarded such a prestigious prize.
Enda Coyle-Greene author of Map of the Last Dublin, February 2015
About Mara Adamitz Scrupe (Twin Cities, Minnesota Author)
Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a poet and visual artist, her fellowships include: NEA CEC/ArtsLink, Washington DC Arts Commission, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Arts Commission, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Foundation, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Montalvo Arts Center, Irish Museum of Modern Art Residency Programme, and USF Verftet-AiR/Bergen.
Adamitz Scrupe has authored two poetry collections Sky Pilot (Finishing Line, 2012) and BEAST (NFSPS, 2015). Her poems have appeared in Matador, Comstock Review, Off The Coast, Narrative, Ruminate, Crosswinds Review, Crab Creek Review, Axon, and Sentinel Quarterly Review. In 2015 Adamitz Scrupe’s poem Arillus won commendation in the International Poetry Competition of the Poetry Society (UK), and she has won or been shortlisted for the Periplum Book Award, Bright Hill Press Book Prize, Sentinel Poetry Book Competition, Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, Canterbury Poetry Festival Prize, Ron Pretty Poetry Prize, University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Award, and National Poetry Society Competition (UK). Mara Adamitz Scrupe lives with her husband on their farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she is professor of Fine Arts at The University of the Arts.