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Dear If
poems by Mary B. Moore


Orison Books
paper  /  120 pp.  /  $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-949039-30-6

Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
952-223-8373  /
Publication Date: April 5, 2022




Grounded in nature and the body’s knowledge of death, Mary B. Moore’s fifth poetry collection queries the divine, evoking its traces in doubt, dread, and awe; in language’s music and its ability to make be; in earth’s prismatic effulgence and its cataclysm and charism. Inventive in image, metaphor, and wordplay, Moore mourns belief and its loss. Moore's poems are influenced by Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore in their keen eye toward the natural world, and by John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Mary Szybist in their ardor to stretch language to address the sacred.



The way one clocks spring moving northward in the coifs of the trees or collects the baseball card of a player bound for the Hall of Fame, cognoscenti of poetry will mark Dear If as Mary B. Moore's emergence as a writer bearing the earmarks of a major American poet. A self-avowed agnostic and ex-Catholic, Moore wrestles with the orthodox concept of a Triune godhead, apprehending a more palatable presence that she is willing to entertain in the dear here of trees, birds, and cloud; but Moore does not require a believer's defense. Even if the stays of orthodox religious belief are not sounded here, certainly there is no doubt that Mary B. Moore's Dear If serves Poetry, a Made Thing in which language serves the turn of transcendence. Her rapier deployment of conceit, metaphorical density, and word-music mark Moore as a contemporary American Metaphysical.
Lise Goett


Mary B. Moore’s poems have always been deeply contemplative and brave, marked by the sonic and inventive brilliance of her craft. Dear If extends this legacy, gifts us with new poems that confront and transcend the often-debilitating weight of doubt and uncertainty, especially when it comes to faith and health. Her speaker sees God as both "maker" and "mocker," yet insists that instead of turning away from reverence, we must seek it through a communion with language and with nature—all to "re-noun" ourselves through the "weird logic of metamorphosis." And in doing so, we too might find ourselves "perched on a new incarnation’s ledge," gazing into the bright holiness of our humanity. Just as Dear If "wows me, lords me wordless," I’m sure this book will leave you stunned and transformed as well, its music continuing to reverberate through your heart long after you've read its last lines.
Faisal Mohyuddin


“Oh look…dear gaudy blue, dear if / and rift, dear void,” writes Mary B. Moore and, oh look, dear reader, how this poet is restless and questing, insisting on a new seeing of everything from the seed head of a sycamore to “the cloud snit, snow thistle.” Oh listen to one who is as much a daughter of Hopkins as of the mother these poems so often invoke, her rhymes packed plentiful and tight as a peony’s petals. Dear If is a collection deeply attentive to the daily world with an eye and ear to the divine, each poem its own kind of call to “Eternal Who, / sentencing’s subject: // we’re your whom, doers / done to.”
Jessica Jacobs




Mary B. Moore is the author of the full-length poetry collections Flicker (Dogfish Head Award, Broadkill River Press, 2016) and The Book of Snow (Cleveland State University Press, 1997), as well as the chapbooks Amanda and the Man Soul (Emrys Award, 2017) and Eating the Light (Sable Books Prize, 2016). She is also the author of the scholarly volume Desiring Voices: Women Sonneteers and Petrarchism (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000). Moore’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, 32 Poems, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Catamaran, Nelle, Nimrod, and Birmingham Poetry Review, among other places. A native Californian with a Ph.D. in Renaissance poetry and prose (University of California, Davis), she taught poetry, Shakespeare, and writing at Marshall University. She is married to the philosopher John Vielkind.

Dear If, poems by Mary B. Moore

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