There are many qualities I admire about my friend Elizabeth Adams, the artist and publisher whom I met when I bought a copy of her Phoenicia Press book, "Waiting to Unfold" by Rachel Barenblat. I chose the collection of the poems, which Barenblat wrote weekly during her son's first year of life, as a gift for a friend's daughter pregnant with her own son.
I especially appreciate Beth's ability to conceive insightful, collaborative projects whether through art, music or poetry. Her request of the poets whom she invited to participate was to "think deeply and fearlessly and to write from your hearts."
As she notes, the theme is challenging: "The annunciation story is a complicated foundational story in western culture. Patriarchies have used Mary as a model for ideal feminine acceptance, faith and submission to authority, while at the same time, millions of people have identified with her courage, suffering and patience..."
So with great pleasure, the windows are dressed with Phoenicia Press's latest publication, a poetry compilation titled "Annunciation: Sixteen Contemporary Poets Consider Mary".
I'll give a copy, via a draw, to a reader.
Of the poets, she says:
"Because part of my incentive for the book was to look at Mary from an interfaith, as well as secular, perspective, the poets are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and secular, and they've brought an amazing breadth to this volume. I am moved by the way in which each poet has managed to identify with Mary, and express some personal point of connection with clarity, emotion, and immediacy. It could have turned out to be a "religious" book but it's much bigger than that—it's a human book."
Beth is more than the book's editor; her striking linocuts illustrate its pages and cover.
If you would like to enter, please add "DRAW" to your comment. I'll put all names I receive today and tomorrow (until midnight EST) into a hat, ask my neighbour to pluck one, and announce the winner next week. The book will be shipped by the publisher at the end of November.
You might also consider "Annunciation" for a gift, or treat yourself to a certain outcome by ordering (there's a special now till November 20) from Phoenicia Publishing. Visit Phoenicia's page also to read the poet's comments about their approaches, a glimpse into the layers of memory and emotion that infused their contributions.
Ten per cent of the proceeds of "Annunciation" are donated directly to refugee relief for women.