A fleeting image in Martha Deed’s poetic memoir, Under the Rock, captures the way the living rush by and miss the dead: the poppy fields of Belgium and France seen as a red blur from a high-speed train. As we mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Deed slows down. She walks the rows of graves, searches backs of drawers, discovers letters that hold voices of dead Pilgrims, farmers, soldiers and nurses. Under the Rock is no tedious genealogy; the poet’s searching declares a sacred task: Blessed the woman whose sight connects the dust, the bees, the skies, the wretched men, the gods.Her “rocks” take various forms: grave stones, a rock from Boston’s “Big Dig,” and another from the Erie Canal used as a doorstop. One accidental discovery: a girl chasing a baseball finds a cannonball! Who fired it and in what battle? Did it land harmlessly or kill? Incredibly, the cannonball’s perambulations are not finished, its story continues. I move with the ash trees and the emerald ash borers who move with them also. If you climb your family tree, be prepared to discover some rot Deed seems to suggest. Her own tree includes abolitionists but also slave runners. Forward to the Fifties: peaceful games of baseball played in streets between houses of differing ethnicities. But don’t be fooled; nothing is ever settled: even graveyards shift. Deed’s stubborn curiosity wants to discover each “footstep to a future we didn’t know…leading to the day when “they” became “us”. We’ll follow this poet where she leads.

~Bart White, in the next hour (FootHills Publishing)

and co-editor of Civilization in Crisis (FootHills Publishing)


 

“Blessed the woman whose sight connects the dust, the bees/ the skies, the wretched men, the gods.” Such a woman is Martha Deed, and her readers quickly discover where “the bony truth” of the poems lies. In Under the Rock, Deed’s painstaking research not only grounds the poems in fact, but also allows her to seamlessly weave her tightly focused ancestral history with American History at its most sprawling. The lessons learned are as numerous as the poems in

this rich tome.


~Karla Linn Merrifield, Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select)

and Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North (Cirque Press)



Aboard the Adventure


Heaviest fog we have had yet

and as the day advanced

it grew heavier still


We decided to leave the yawl

and seek amusement ashore


Skipper and his mate

put on light trousers

and collars

and fancy ties


We ladies did not like to put on light dresses

on account of the dampness

we wore old skirts

respectable waists

fixed up our hair

so we would be allowed

inside the stores at least


We started on a tramp to Portsmouth

reached there in an hour and a half
















Aboard the Adventure, 1911


About the Author








       

Under the Rock is Martha Deed's second

FootHills Publishing collection. Her first, Climate Change, was released in 2014.


Her poetry has been published in dozens of journals, including Shampoo, Moria, Unlikelystories, CLWN WR,  Le Mot Juste, Edifice Wrecked, Big Bridge, and Earth's Daughters. Her work has been included in FootHills anthologies, including Birdsong and Coast to Coast: The Route 20 Anthology as well as anthologies published by Iowa, Mayapple, Red Hen, Xexoxial, Beatlick Press and others.


Under the Rock is a 104 page hand-stitched paperbook with spine - $16.00

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Under the Rock


Martha Deed