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If You Have Something to Say, Margaret, Poems by Marge Barrett
If You Have Something to Say, Margaret reaches out with the heartfelt message: "-we will help each other love." These lyrical and prose poems reflect the cultural changes of Barrett's lifetime, from '50s bomb shelters, Russia and the Cold War to the current Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia. Settings range from the poet's birthplace in a small southwestern Minnesota town, to her current homes on the banks of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, to exotic destinations like the Choruh River in Turkey. The heart of her poetry holds her large family and many friends, students from years of teaching, even a few beloved dogs, while considering-sometimes tangentially-life choices, social justice, and how to spend our time on earth. Some poems touch us with tender humor: "Mean Mr. Van Maes, / you shot our mutt dog, but Luck / lived on, three-legged." In others, her plain language reverberates with poignant humanity: "I stand at his grave. Dad, I'm having trouble saying goodbye."
"Deeply personal and emotionally raw, Marge Barrett's collection of poetry, prose and prose poems is a pure delight. The work is filled with powerful political and social observations and offers charming nuances of the ups and downs of domestic life. Barrett moves from the joys of childbirth to the sadness of loss, from the memory of growing up in a large prairie family to the pleasures of summer at a cabin on the St. Croix. The writing is incisive, humorous and filled with honesty and love." -Joe Dowling
"Marge Barrett's intent memoirist's gaze (on vivid display in earlier books) inspires the broad-ranging narrative style of the poems in If You Have Something to Say, Margaret. The title calls up a classroom nun's unmistakable - for some of us - corrective prompt, underscoring as well the author's own youthful "calling" as a nun. She evokes, clear-eyed, a time lost forever then found again here, responding to the past with all she "has to say," both ecstatic and fearful, as past and present become one." -Carol Muske-Dukes
"If You Have Something to Say, Margaret is an innovative and celebratory memoir in verse, showcasing author Marge Barrett's love of landscape, family, and literature. These poems - sonnets, sestinas, villanelles and prose poems - overflow with passion and compassion, yearning and gratitude. A lovely, artful, nostalgic collection." -Julie Schumacher
ISBN 978-1625493538, 116 pages, $19.00