Maurya Simon’s The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems 1980-2016 (Red Hen Press 2018, 218 pages) represents a life of questioning and perception, whether the scene is a backyard or a street in Bangalore or the ekphrastic poems of The Weavers or reflections on sinners and saints. Her life has encompassed years in India, fellowships in Rome, and an unconventional childhood in Europe when her parents followed James Baldwin’s example and left for Paris.
Simon’s poetry does not shout or rant. It’s not transgressive, though it doesn’t shy away from the physical or the distressing. It’s a quiet, reflective, lyric voice, one that’s easy to overlook in the current poetic clamor, but one that deserves to be read for the deep insight and beauty it brings to the poetic landscape. It includes selections from eight volumes and about 20 newer, uncollected poems that come together to form a rich tapestry.
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