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Joy Manesiotis | writer

Joy Manesiotis | writer

Joy Manesiotis | writer

“As much as song guides these poems, a certain ‘not singing’ is an equal force here, one that finds in stillness a kind of eternal, seemingly wordless presence.”

MARIANNE BORUCH

They Sing to Her Bones

“Manesiotis is only one generation removed from that most basic American fact that almost everyone in this country came from elsewhere; that we who follow are all mutts, genetically or culturally or both. She’s in that familiar nevertheless curious position – grandchild of immigrants and exiles, in this case from Greece – and she uses it without sentimentality to get at the sweet and the dark of such an equation: what is left behind never quite translates…As much as song guides these poems – and often Manesiotis’ early training as a musician is obvious, especially in wonderfully fractured pieces where a more lyric sound is keyed, as in ‘Fugue,’ ‘O Beautiful Boy,’ or in ‘Fledgling’ – a certain ‘not singing’ is an equal force here, one that finds in stillness and its children (painting, photographs, scenes meticulously sketched from the past) a kind of eternal, seemingly wordless presence.” —Marianne Boruch, from the Foreword

“The lyric impulse is alive and well in They Sing to Her Bones, a magnificent first book that marries lament with the music of surviving. In these elegant poems, Manesiotis reminds us that memory is not a static map of the past, but a place itself, like the author’s beloved Greece, from which we launch the infinite possibility of our lives each day. Let us welcome these beguiling songs of what was and what still might be.” —Dorothy Barresi

“‘Inconsolable, loose grief, wild/ and keening’ is Joy Manesiotis’ formidable subject, anchored in family stories, rigorous observation, and vivid writing that captures its manifold features and nails it down.” —Michael Ryan

Winner of the 1999 New Issues Poetry Prize

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