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Today's poem is "The Last Meeting, along the Path to Arthur's Grave"
from Guinevere in Baltimore

The Waywiser Press

Shelley Puhak was born in Washington, D.C. in 1975 and grew up in Maryland. She holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and an MA from the University of Delaware. Her first collection, Stalin in Aruba (Black Lawrence/Dzanc), was awarded the Towson Prize for Literature. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Carolina Quarterly, FIELD, and Ninth Letter. She teaches at Notre Dame of Maryland University, where she is Eichner Professor of Creative Writing.

Books by Shelley Puhak:

Other poems on the web by Shelley Puhak:
Two poems
"Letter to an Old Flame"
"Searching for Baltimore"
"The Führer’s Girls"
"Letter to the Gnome Who Stole My Firstborn"
Two poems
Three poems

Shelley Puhak's Website.

About Guinevere in Baltimore:

"What makes Guinevere in Baltimore work ... is the sheer brilliance of the individual poems. The finest poetry, the kind one wants to keep re-reading, mostly comes down to memorable turns of phrase and vivid detail, and that is what one finds here. Of course, for a language to come alive for the reader, one has to hear the voice of whoever is speaking in the poem, which requires verbal imagination and an exquisite ear for how different types of people talk. Guinevere in Baltimore is masterfully crafted, a veritable feast for any lover of words. Being a story about marital infidelity, its poems are full of things both intimate and scandalous. And juicy gossip, as the old Greek and Roman poets knew well, and made sure to record, will outlast empires and even gods."
—Charles Simic

"A freakishly brilliant book in its conception, Shelley Puhak’s Guinevere in Baltimore raises the stakes for American poetry of the twenty-first century. Bow down now, Reader, for this maker means forever, and you’re the one in her cross-hairs."
—Cate Marvin

"Good poets return to myth and legend in order to reenact their gestures, translating rather than adapting these stories, hoping to siphon something of these ancient tales' former resonance and power off for their own work. Original poets, however, rewrite the stories entirely with a fresher eye and a sharper tongue. They rip our most familiar characters out of their antiquated context and, by doing so, remind us anew that our heroes and heroines of yore have never been safe, nor their archetypal renderings anodyne. This is what Shelley Puhak has done with the Arthurian legends in her newest collection. In hilariously acid and completely contemporary language, Puhak gives us a Lancelot who bickers at Starbucks, an Arthur suffering from an enlarged prostate, and a Guinevere who finally, fully realizes the consequence of the betrayals she has initiated, along with a few others which we all must face – disloyalty, disappointment, the aging of a once-beautiful body and, worse, the realization that even the strongest passions fade."
—Paisley Rekdal



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