Praise for Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine (2013 Prairie Lights Books / University of Iowa Press)

“These essays are love letters—thank-you notes for some of the great gifts. These former students understand what Larry Levis calls ‘the invisible great good luck’ of having had Phil as a teacher.” —Jane Mead (from the introduction)

“This book is a must-have for all Philip Levine lovers and anyone who knows the reality of what it feels like to be in a writing workshop. It will have you laughing, crying, and wondering how a man so generous and talented is not more celebrated. It will instill within you, or reawaken, an urge to write better because you must hold yourself and your writing accountable…” —John GibbsSwitchback

Praise for The Darkened Temple (2008 University of Nebraska Press)

“In The Darkened Temple, Mari L’Esperance enacts the process of defining a self out of fragments of cultural and personal history, the traumatic disintegration of that self, and its subsequent painful rebuilding: by turns narrative, chantlike, fractured, and lyric, these tender, terrifying, and frank poems fight their way into song.” —Jane Mead, author of The Usable Field (poems)

“These stunning lyrics shine light on suffering. Across generations and across cultures, we follow intricate rituals of desire, of myth making, of mourning. Via corrosive wondering about a disappeared mother, we arrive ‘alone / at the gate of the unbearable.’ And yet these poems, vibrant and necessary, return us to ‘retrievable life,’ to essential human mysteries.” —Peggy Shumaker, author of Toucan Nest (poems)

The Darkened Temple is not a typical first book; it is not the work of a young writer on the edge of becoming, not the expected first-book miscellany that often begins a poetry career; nor is it hampered by the author’s limitations in style and experience. Mari L’Esperance comes to us in her mature form.” —Wendy Taylor CarlisleThe Sound Journal

The Darkened Temple does what lyric poetry does best. Through a series of slowly unfolding images, the author awakens emotional and physical responses in the reader. L’Esperance never rushes to a conclusion, but lets her word-pictures build into sense-rich epiphanies that are both delicate and everlasting.” —Erica

“I’m deeply moved by these wrenching, exquisite poems. Like a relentless camera moving ever closer, The Darkened Temple surveys the speaker’s ‘crossing over / from innocence to knowing’ — the disappearance of her mother and its consequences for her as she tries to continue.” —Carole Simmons Oles, author of Waking Stone: Inventions on the Life of Harriet Hosmer (poems)

“Richly textured and admirably diverse in its structures, Mari L’Esperance’s collection … stuns as it edifies a craving for depth in modern poetry.” —Glenda Bailey-MershonWomen and Books

“Metaphor is the mortar in Mari L’Esperance’s beautifully laid-out book, The Darkened Temple.The temple is many places, and they are always dark. These places embody countless integrated dichotomies: the visible and the invisible, insecurity and safety, the end and the beginning, arrival and departure, the possible and impossible, belonging and not belonging, the distance and intimacy between a mother and daughter. These are the themes the poet visits in this compelling collection…” —Anne Harding WoodworthPoets’ Quarterly

“This is a book of poems that does the work, to use L’Esperance’s words, of ‘shouldering,’ ‘hauling,’ ‘sifting,’ ‘bracing,’ and ‘hunkering down’ in the face of loss. In its conception, in its craftsmanship, in its moral bearings, in its production design, in its ambition, and, not least, in its humanity, it is a book that will resonate as only the authentic can.” —Alan BotsfordPoetry Kanto

“L’Esperance’s lyricism is stunning. Her sense of line and image, perfection. The lover of poetry and the poet alike will appreciate the skill and talent evident in The Darkened Temple.” —Christine Stewartjmww

“A Hapa writer who lost her mother suddenly and mysteriously, L’Esperance writes beautiful, moving poems of connection, mourning and presence. None of us reads enough poetry, though it gives us what we need, when we remember to turn to it…” —Minal Hajratwala, author of Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents (memoir)