Praise for AT THE GATE
The power of this first collection derives from an intense emotional time-line compressed and forced into spare, incantatory poems.
–Mary Jo Bang, Boston Review
To read At the Gate is to realize slowly the gravity behind what is being said and then to marvel at the fortitude and grit that assembled the lines into a gift of carefully finished poems.
–Joyce Wilson, Harvard Review
These short poems, by turn savage, wry, mordantly witty, tender, stern, deluded, sane, read like a series of fragments, bits of mosaic; they duplicate on the page the sense of a past’s being, piece by piece, recovered; they convey, devastatingly, the moment of a pattern’s emerging: the little scenes and vignettes, the suspect tools of memory, cohere heart-stoppingly and absolutely into a narrative which fuses the damaged body to the divided heart.
– Louise Gluck, from “The Forbidden from Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry, (The Ecco Press)
Martha Rhodes emerges to the first rank with a collection that not only promises, but delivers and downright routinely amazes…This is a book of immense vitality and beauty. Rhodes deserves our highest praise, but more importantly, her work deserves our deepest attention.
– Jon Lavieri, Small Press Review
Praise for PERFECT DISAPPEARANCE
If poetry’s task is to bring disorderings to a fierce control, then this book is a powerful achievement… the lucid understatements are more resonant than speech, and the details and gestures precisely barbed to fix in the reader’s mind. This is a haunted and haunting first collection.
– Gregory Orr, The Virginia Quarterly Review, 1996
The poems in Martha Rhodes’ evocative second collection, Perfect Disappearance, persistently press against the thin membrane that separates outward calm and concealed chaos…The chaos and calm basic to the collection intersect throughout the book, interrogating the boundaries of a presented life and a life under the surface. “ourself behind ourself, concealed –/should startle most—” wrote Emily Dickinson. Perfect Disappearance startles exactly so.
– Rebecca Weaver, Rain Taxi
Praise for MOTHER QUIET
“The aim of poetry (and the higher kind of thriller) is. . . . to be unexpected and memorable. So a poem about death might treat it in a way that combines the bizarre and the banal: the Other Side as some kind of institution—a creepy hospital, an officious hotel or retirement home. Martha Rhodes takes such an approach in ”Ambassadors to the Dead,” from her abrupt, unsettling, artfully distorted, indelible new book Mother Quiet. . . . Blending the matter-of-fact with the surreal, as a way of comprehending the stunning, final reality, Rhodes is an inheritor of Emily Dickinson”s many poems on the same subject.”
—Robert Pinsky, The Washington Post
“What is the difference, asks Martha Rhodes, between forgetting and being forgotten? Why do our most primal images of self-definition—the house, the childhood bedroom, the mother’s body—become more vaporous the more we speak? The poems of Mother Quiet don’t just ask these questions; they inhabit these questions. . . . ‘The inside of her mouth was black and airless,’ says Rhodes of the dead mother, and the image is at once a poet’s blessing and a poet’s curse. Weird, dark, hilarious, direct, otherworldly—these poems display a poet in command of every note the English language is capable of sounding. They will not be silenced: they are unforgettable.”
— James Longenbach