O Holy Insurgency by Mary Biddinger
Black Lawrence Press, January 2013.
Mary Biddinger’s newest poetry collection, O Holy Insurgency, wrenches the love poem out of the terrain of hearts and flowers, and transplants it in a quotidian rust belt paradise, where broken glass becomes a shimmering beacon, and no river is too polluted to dazzle a pair of lovers on its banks. These poems chronicle both triumph and struggle against a gritty Midwestern backdrop, and testify to the myriad powers of the heart.
Praise for O Holy Insurgency:
Think O for open and O for eye, a wandering mouth in search of surprises. The heroine of Mary Biddinger’s brilliant new collection subs rapid-fire syntax for Bond girl bullets: “Of course we didn’t have / guns. We were too fast to need them.” In this eerie prairie town, box fans reproduce in bushes and toaster ovens face eviction from countertops. Biddinger lets objects highlight the wreckage of Capitalist excess: “It wasn’t a paper flower they left / at the crash site, but somebody’s / underpants, dimpled with rain.” What’s holy is passion, our heroine’s thorny femininity and devout hedonism. O Holy Insurgency documents Biddinger’s irreverent compassion and edgy sensuality: “you / invented me with your mouth. / We were cut from the same cloth/of awesomeness. Our glory / could stop wars. The azaleas shut / their blooms when you opened / me.” –Carol Guess, author of Tinderbox Lawn and Doll Studies: Forensics
With equal parts wit and wisdom, Mary Biddinger’s O Holy Insurgency does what all good poetry does: she entertains while demonstrating both social and personal awareness; she rouses, comforts, and frightens the reader (often in the same poem) in the best way possible. Sometimes surreal, always poignant, Biddinger’s lyricism transcends the whitewash of contemporary verse and gives us something both familiar and new. –Michael Meyerhofer, author of Damnatio Memoriae andBlue Collar Eulogies
O Holy Insurgency, o hymn to sacred transgressions, to Eros’ transubstantiations, to the beloved as doppelganger, as double-dog dare, as flaming conflagration of holy spirit that both purifies and destroys, and will not be quenched or exorcised. These poems, with their crisp pivots and dove-tail joints, rise from the dingy quotidian of the American rust belt like the electric glitter of a welder’s torch. They spark and tingle like a 9-volt battery placed upon the tongue. — Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year and Year of the Snake
Poems from O Holy Insurgency are now appearing online at these journals:
“A Genesis” at Waccamaw
“Confluence” from The Journal at Verse Daily
Numerous O Holy Insurgency poems at Diode
Two poems at Thermos
“An Excursion” at The Rumpus
“Portrait of Myself as a Piece of Red Candy in Your Mouth” at The Collagist