paper • 88 pages • 15.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-935536-97-0

Dear All,

Maggie Anderson

“My friends, I send you this letter from the landscape of our years together / You must not wonder if I think of you still — / I have remained steadfast here / I have remembered you wholly into this day” writes poet Maggie Anderson in the title poem from her most recent collection Dear All, a poetic letter to the lost of her own life and generation and to the lives of the larger world in these days of endless war. Wry, canny, and sometimes surreal, this is the singular and mature work of a poet who, from her earliest poems, has been engaged in the vital work of remembering and retrieval. As she says in “Fear of Farms”, “Who else would plough this land? / Who, if not I, will do all this?” It is a book of moral urgency that eradicates the differences between private and public lives as it uncovers memory’s distortions and inaccuracies. Intellectually alert and emotionally honest, Maggie Anderson negotiates the perceptions and self-deceptions we live with and, through both humor and surprise, finds a way to bear them.

“How the Brain Works,” from Dear All,:

Like a peony. Full white blossoms,
heavy and damp with the scurrying
of insects. From this comes language:
Morning sun. Afternoon shower. This, that.
It gathers to fit in open palms, heart shape
that wants to carry one flower as far
as it has to, as fast as it’s able, to the dark
oak table, the red cut-glass bowl.
The ants will drop and crawl to the windowsill.
Soft petals will brown and slime,
fall down to re-enter the earth.
And the brain says, happy.
The brain says, do over, do over.

Praise by Susan Shaw Sailer for "The Georgia Review"
Praise by "The Arabesques Review"
Praise by "Washington Independent Review of Books"
Praise by Lynn Emanuel
Praise by Maurice Manning
Praise by Eleanor Wilner

…Beginning with poems about her childhood, moving to the world of war’s wounding and violence, and coming finally to poems exploring how the imagination interacts with self, others, literary figures, and environments, Dear All, is a poignant offering to readers of what has been important to the poet. Suffering is never far away—through migraines, parental trauma, the effects of war—but neither is appreciation for the grace of friendship, the steadying comfort of trusted love, the renewal that wild places give….

… If you want to know what’s relevant today, what’s topical, you can’t overlook Dear All, … Read the full review here.

… These poems are addressed to ‘the others’ in Anderson’s life — the one who loaned her gloves on a cold day; the one who noticed she was tired and should rest, a father who’s dying and trying to utter his last. These are the ones we write for; and never better than in this ensemble. For what’s the use of poetry if we don’t want to send memories and messages to the world, and if they’re not about the ones who loved us, who should they be about? And for? … Read the full review here.

…There is such courage and much beauty in this book. Anderson’s voice sounds like no other, and no one I know is writing with such fierce power about the unendurable (but endured) decades of bloodshed that ended the last millennium and have begun this one. Dear All, is worth every minute of the wait. It is a darkly ravishing achievement.

I love how this book moves from the personal to the public, from the private room of the heart where losses are conferred, to the world’s stage of mindless, unaccountable war.…The vulnerability in these poems is real, but so is the hope.

… In the enchanted plainsong of these seasoned, measured poems, the ultimate intimacy of consciousness achieves a lucidity so deeply truthful that it becomes the mythic.