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The mesmerizing poems in Stanford’s third collection move deftly from the kiss of the hummingbird’s fringed tongue to apocalypse, from midwives’ magical cures to a gritty New Jersey overpass. The poems take place in Brazil, in the Interior, and in the home, another kind of interior, and the book is a journey through both, harrowing and rewarding. Stanford reminds us “[t]he same frame that contains us sometimes lets us go.”

"The poems in Eleanor Stanford’s third collection shimmer—not just with beauty, but like objects about to transform. With the touchstone image of the midwife leading us through these pages, the poems shift and move through struggle and comfort, magic and loss, through desire shouldered across generations and continents. What is birthed in these poems feels entirely new and necessary."

-- Rachel Richardson

"This marvelous collection, with its exquisite and unforgettable details --  “the submerged/ river, so clear/ that visitors walk into it/ still wearing their shoes” --moves effortlessly between Bahia, Brazil and  and  a “suburban twin,” between traditional cures of Bahia’s midwives  -- “For toothache, prayer/ and a mango leaf” -- and the rules of Kashrut .  The midwives, with their fabulous tales and descriptions – “Only one I wed in a church.  A wager with God, the laughable odds” -- are the best imaginable company, as is the poems’ speaker, who offers them to us with such sharp and fine lyric focus."

-- Jacqueline Osherow

"The sojourner in Eleanor Stanford’s The Imaginal Marriage finds herself “[in] the middle of [her] life, / a rift.”  And adrift.  The feminized Dantean dark wood she travels is one of surreal contrasts—fecund jungle and various northeastern exburban landscapes; anorexia and fertility; a world “blazing [with] verbs” and stunningly aphasic. This is a brave, vulnerable, beautiful adult book about mid-life, the precarious, metamorphic “middle of the road,” fraught with “all of our mistakes” and life’s next becoming, “slipping / into whatever hands there are to receive it.”

-- Lisa Russ-Spaar

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