MARGO BERDESHEVSKY, born in New York city, often writes in Paris. Her brand new book is: "Kneel Said the Night (a hybrid book in half notes)" from Sundress Publications. Her recent poetry collection is "Before The Drought," from Glass Lyre Press (A finalist for the National Poetry Series.) A new poetry collection, "It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat" is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Author as well of the poetry collections 'Between Soul & Stone,' and 'But a Passage in Wilderness' (Sheep Meadow Press.) Recipient of Grand Prize for Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award. Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, received the first Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award from Fiction Collective Two (University of Alabama Press.) Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America, the & Now Anthology of the Best of Innovative Writing. Her works appear in the American journals Poetry International, New Letters, Kenyon Review, Plume, Psaltry & Lyre, The Night Heron Barks, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Southern Humanities Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, Manoa,Bracken, Verseville, among many others. In Canada, Canadian Women Studies. les cahiers de la femme. In Europe and the UK her works appear in The Poetry Review (UK) PN Review (UK,) Under the Radar, Levure Littéraire, The Creative Process, The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, Recours au Poème, & Confluences Poétiques. She may be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, or somewhere new in the world.
** And... a powerful review from poet, memoirist, editor, and Distinguished Professor, Garrett Hongo :
“This very special book was daunting for its variety of intensities. One could not, must not read casually, “linearly” as with most collections. It had to teach me how to read it. At first,
I felt the poet had channeled Akhmatova and her fiery grief, then I sensed Baudelaire’s flaneur, then Rimbaud’s prose poems…. No comparison or analog sufficed. It reached beyond these antecedents and yet, it captured their seriousness of vision and emotions. But the story(ies) were personal, intimate, sometimes baffling, but nearly always insistently lyric, even elusive and oblique at times. I struggled to piece together a reading of my own.
It took several tries over a few weeks or so, and a deepening connection. The “aha!” came the third time through with the story of the rape and then the subsequent account of a visit to Kalaupapa. I started to “know” the poet behind the taffeta and lace of lovely language, the piercing vision, the committed emotion, the disturbance(s) at the core of the writing. I was no longer a tourist in the country of KNEEL SAID THE NIGHT. I was compelled along.
There is a screech of emotion behind everything, indelible hurts and macabre images and sorrowful human disconnections. I flatter myself to say that, like “Joan” of some of the stories, I’d a mother, too, who was self-involved and saw me only as an extension— some- thing to “employ” in the saga of her own life, that this connection of the absence of love in childhood was what might have sprung us both into the worlds of feeling, excess, wandering, and dissatisfactions we’ve traveled through since.
In the end, the departures and closures of lyricism remind med me of Merwin’s prose, but the core of experiences, the floating worlds of its tales seemed more akin to Anais Nin, though not so much the eroticism (the poet has her own), but the spins of telling, the in-dwellingness of ephemeral experiences, the “becoming” of them.
There is actually too much to say, really. The work demands readings so different from the usual of whatever contemporary style, a depth of involvement that requires of the reader a kind of understanding that an estranged sibling or lover might have to produce within them- selves in order to meet the world the poet gives in so very unique terms. In a way, I had to become someone else in order to read it. And that someone else is almost equally strange and evanescent to whatever daily identity I occupy. Acutely curious, aroused, angered (for Joan), and bewildered all at once. The poet has accomplished the portrayal of a fine and elusive sensibility.
“As I crossed the bridge of dreams…” Lady Murasaki
Sundress Publications : Margo Berdeshevsky’s Kneel Said the Night, (a hybrid book in half notes.)
Margo Berdeshevsky’s Kneel Said the Night weaves together intimacy, revamped fairy tales, erotic myths, and legends. Berdeshevsky articulates a composition that is balanced precariously between wonder and horror by merging poetry, prose, and visual art; the result is a fragmented world that offers a visceral, life-long journey of love and ruin. This collection explodes with relationships that are both passionate and complicated: a sick mother and her daughter, an unwanted child-turned-mother, a woman and her desires, a woman and her lovers, a woman and her predators, little boys and their predator. Oscillating between the real and the unreal, Kneel Said the Night renders pain and pleasure in equal parts with imagery that cuts deep yet embraces its reader, asking both “Who holds the winning hand?” and "Who will save us?”
Diane Seuss, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of frank: sonnets, writes that “Composed of lyric essays, line- broken poems, revamped fairy tales, erotic myths, and histories clothed in see-through shifts, wearing Eau Sauvage men’s cologne, Kneel Said the Night: a hybrid book in half notes, is a lush, authoritative masterwork.”
!! STILL AVAILABLE !! :
Her recent book: is still available:
"BEFORE THE DROUGHT"
.............Her recent book: A book of powerful poems from Glass Lyre Press...........
Margo: reading "No Modifier At All"
this is one poem...from "Before The Drought" ...
...BEFORE The DROUGHT...is...
"...a work of radical suffering and human indifference but also sensual transport. " (Carolyn Forché)
"Before the Drought" is a lyric meditation on corporeal existence, suffused with atavistic spirit and set in historical as well as cosmic time , a work of radical suffering and human indifference but also sensual transport. The tutelary spirits of these poems are the feminine principle, and a flock of messengers that include blue heron, ibis, phoenix, egret, and blood’s hummingbird. In the surround we find ourselves in the magical world of a floating balcony, and a field of cellos, but it is a world in peril, now and in the time to come, on the night of the Paris massacres and in a poisoned future . In the City of Light, Berdeshevsky writes poems commensurate with her vision, poems that know to ask How close is death, how near is God? Hers is a book to read at the precipice on which we stand. — Carolyn Forché
"Margo Berdeshevsky is here to remind us that poetry can both dive and soar. She inhabits a world on the eve of destruction, a self on the ridge of despair, but she doesn't surrender for a minute. Writing a woman's body she is fearless, luscious, passionate..."
In September 2017 I had the huge honor and joy of reading one of my poems from "Before the Drought" to my once-upon neighbor and dear one, W.S. MERWIN. The poem is a Blason written for him. Elderly and sage, he listened and thanked me, and our friend made a discreet photo. I also brought him a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape for his 90th birthday which was the following day. Not sure which one he liked most, but so very honored and happy to have been with him to share poetry and grace. xxxx, margo
May he rest forever now, in peace and poetry...dear William Merwin.
Her tribute to WILLIAM MERWIN: in POETRY INTERNATIONAL:
This is..."Here Is My Body"....From "Before the Drought"
... "HERE IS MY BODY" ....
* Excerpt from a REVIEW of "Before the Drought" in INTERIM:
...from an insightful review in “Interim, a journal of poetry and poetics” by Carol Ciavonne, of Margo Berdeshevsky’s “BEFORE THE DROUGHT” :
“The title can be read as a looking back, or as a forewarning of times to come. This is an important distinction, but the feeling of mourning is the same. And yet, in the book as a whole, Margo Berdeshevsky has compiled an atlas of the beauty that exists in nature, culture, and ourselves. Perhaps Berdeshevsky is recording and collecting these individual instances of our personal and collective lives, to be remembered and read later, perhaps by us, perhaps by future beings. Maybe this is the record we will use to prove we made beauty, we felt compassion, in spite of the wars and greed that ended in decimating our planet. Maybe our mourning will be redemption of sorts. And since we are beings in time, what else do we have but these remembered instances of beauty and kindness to comfort us?...”