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Marie Howe (Author)

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“Gorgeous, ferocious, lacerating, sexy, and profoundly compassionate.”—Michael Cunningham

Magdalene imagines the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene as a woman who embodies the spiritual and sensual, alive in a contemporary landscape—hailing a cab, raising a child, listening to news on the radio. Between facing the traumas of her past and navigating daily life, the narrator of Magdalene yearns for the guidance of her spiritual teacher, a Christ figure, whose death she continues to grieve. Erotic, spirited, and searching for meaning, she is a woman striving to be the subject of her own life, fully human and alive to the sacred in the mortal world.


“A smart, engrossing collection.… Readers of any religious background will find much that seems familiar in the modern-day everywoman who sees herself in the faces of a woman wearing a burka, a woman who longs for children and one who hails a taxi wearing a black suit and high heels.” — Washington Post

“Marie Howe is magic. And in this book, her biggest magic trick is making the iconic biblical character, Mary Magdalene, both mystical and relatable, at once mythological and completely contemporary.” — Rumpus

“In these powerful and accessible poems, Howe advocates nothing so narrow as a particular religious faith; instead, she seems to argue, loving the world, in spite and because of suffering, is life’s great risk, and its reward.” — NPR

“A poignant portrait of contemporary womanhood.… This newest collection aptly demonstrates the particular strengths of Howe’s wry, bittersweet talent.” — Library Journal, starred review

“Each book of Marie Howe’s is a singular accomplishment, but none is as wildly alive as this.… Howe sweeps up a life and fixes it on the page, and stands here before us, the stunned and grateful witness of all that’s taken and granted by love and time.” — Mark Doty

“Marie Howe is among our most gifted poets of trauma and healing, and of where the everyday encounters the world of the sacred. In Magdalene, Howe raises the ante. She now channels the ‘woman taken in adultery’ of New Testament legend, and she is also her questing self, lover and mother, risen to the exaltation of the possible.” — Alicia Ostriker, author of The Book of Seventy

“Marie Howe has always come as close as any poet since Rilke to touching eternity, simply by stretching out her hand and believing that something exists beyond her grasp, beyond her knowing. Here, with Magdalene, she somehow goes even deeper, into what it is to both be alive and a manifestation of the divine. I am, once again, in awe of her powers, at their fullest here.” — Nick Flynn

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    The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems

    Marie Howe

    Paperback, 2009

    Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize: “Thought-provoking, poignant, brutal, amusing, and always beautiful.”—Elizabeth Berg
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    What the Living Do: Poems

    Marie Howe

    Paperback, 1999

    "A deeply beautiful book, with the fierce galloping pace of a great novel."—Liz Rosenberg Boston Globe