Under the Quick

SKU: 978-1-60235-121-9

Molly Bendall

Free Verse Editions
Series Editor: Jon Thompson

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978-1-60235-121-9 (paperback; $14.00; £10; €11.00; $16.00 CAD); 978-1-60235-122-6 (Adobe eBook;  $12.00; £9.00; €10.00; $14.00 CAD); © 2009 by Parlor Press; 82 pages.

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In the gyroscope of the poetic mind, a wild imbalance is also a balance finely-tuned. Song reels in its strange ecstasy. Molly Bendall is such a singer, such a poet. Here is a poetry of charm in the deepest sense—where dark lore is the undercurrent to daily life, where beneath the poem's manners lurks a curious magic. Molly Bendall stands at the impact point of such collisions—right where the world grows complicated, right in the midst of its difficult magic—and lets the disorder complete its song.   
—Dan Beachy-Quick 


"Spun and Frayed into a 'Shimmering Capture;'” review by Suzette Bishop in Octopus Magazine #14 (Oct., 2010)

"I was kept enchanted by one unexpected language encounter after another from the very first poem to the last, a difficult linguistic performance to maintain throughout a whole collection.  Part of that delight stems from the resulting surrealistic imagery and the smooth shifts from contemporary urban slang to English language from other eras, with a Celtic or British slant, to colloquialisms."

Carol Muske-Dukes (Poet Laureate of California) in The Huffington Post:

There's an inscrutable, willowy, linguistic élan to the poems—they come from the world below consciousness—language released at pure Ophelia-speed from formality and sequence—their surefootedness and grace is something remarkable. (Confronting Words: Poetry Reviews, Nov. 6, 2009)

"A Compulsive Reader" (Oct. 22, 2009).


In Under the Quick, Molly Bendall's fourth book of poems, the verbal underworld of doing and undoing—oath, love charm, prayer, curse—becomes a refuge of tenderness and malediction. One of her generation's most subtly imaginative poets, Bendall overhears—and whispers to the reader—a lost language which is by turns brainy and promiscuous, clueless and inscrutable, bewitching and bereft: a voice skirting a strange silence, a "goblin market" of snares, cures, trifles, and métiers inconnus. Under the spell of these poems, worlds once imagined break into growls and fingersnaps undoing the rough magic of impersonation. 

About the Author

Molly Bendall is the author of three previous collections of poetry, After Estrangement, Dark Summer, and Ariadne's Island.   She has received the Eunice Tietjens Prize from Poetry magazine, the Lynda Hull Poetry Award from Denver Quarterly, and two Pushcart Prizes.  She teaches at the University of Southern California. 



I Causes and Cures

Reminds Me of Panic
Every Skipping Speed I've Noticed
A Wild, Raw Clearing
Pirate Keep
Vanish Nearby
A Home Never Tried
Farm Days
Steal a Notion of a Duck in Flight
Horned Lullaby
Storm Cure
Her South, Its Noir

II Windward

heel, tread a bank
a penny white cake
millery, millery, dustipole
come choose you east
sent his daughter
turn twice 'round
twist the thread
foot for foot, knee for knee
here a nail
now come fairly
let none catch you out

III Adventures on a Raft

Adventures on a Raft
Time Tunnel
In Place of Danger
The Windlass
A Reward in a Cloud-Burst
The Wait for Directions
A Relief Map
Consider the Crusades
Wide-Awake Patterns
Whistling From the Lean-to

IV Blurry Evidence

The Darling Scented Rushes
Sleeping on Her Feet
Shoots and Pulps
Thorn Trees
Under the Quick
B-line to the Next Yard
A False Wing
Fugitive Lullaby
Pass Up the Votives
Sleep Like a June Bug
Blurry Evidence
Flame Vendor
If On a Boat You Might Find Clytemnestra
To Pay the Debt this Day Began
How Small Pains

About the Author
Free Verse Editions


Under the Quick

Molly Bendall   

    Not letting go of the jangle,
            go sleep
in the kisswell, one would

             say, but flies came
awash with glitter.

              Freaky, she'd say,
and he (his name was Jupiter)
   would hang in the corner.
               Travel low he did and with
a backache. It's a long

              ways off so keep it next
to the temperature of shade.

Do sing it she urged
              in the mossy box, pressed clay
for a backdrop.
         The porch bewilders, its rafters

  Say it went flying there

        until it hatched and the night
zagged below.
              What good is a nod
to the dark water? Who'd
             notice if she swings and swings?

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