Notes for a Late-Blooming Martyr


by Marlys West

Pages: 80; Size: 6″ x 9″
Series: Akron Series in Poetry

SKU: 978-1-884836-55-8 Category: Tag:


In Notes for a Late-Blooming Martyr, Marlys West takes a coolly amused look at what we create of ourselves: our habits of home and mind, the prosthetics and courtesies, the small timid gestures and screaming leaps that make up our lives and deaths. Influenced by such diverse things as summer vacations, the plight of Satan and the saints, and a love of American speech, these poems suggest a loose narrative within a stream of wry images and wayward mythologies. Father smokes, mother rolls her eyes, the devil goes for a swim: all in a world of odd rituals, dangerous waters, lucky charms, and the spasmodic braveries of the everyday.

From the desertions of the past comes a recitation of longings gratified or unheard, an accompaniment to the martyrdom and beauty of each life. Tragedy never rises to the level of transcendence, but neither is it the only truth. West dismantles old answers (religion, love, family, the comfort and security of objects) and offers them again as skewed solutions, the wary possibilities of transformation, in a book that ends as we all do, with the ceremonies of dying and the frightened hope of another life.

Marlys West’s poems do jazz with our brains. What a refreshing wonder she is! We thank her for the stunning dazzle-dance of her lines and these spiky twists of wit.
—Naomi Shihab Nye

About the author

Marlys West

Marlys West, a native of Louisiana, has two degrees in English—a BA from St. Mary’s College in Maryland and an MA from the University of Virginia and an MFA in poetry writing from the University of Texas’ Michener Center for Writers, where she received graduate and postgraduate fellowships. She works as a computer programmer in Austin, Texas. Notes for a Late-Blooming Martyr is her first book of poems.

Additional information


Paperback, Hardcover


Akron Series in Poetry


Marlys West

Pub Date