“At a time when big rhetoric is often disparaged, Seaton is an idealist. She keeps this in check, I sense, through talent and will. By deploying her careful forms and frequently leaving her strands untied, she distances the extra-poetic passion of the poem, cements it to the words on the page…Seaton transcends, and her ambition is a joy to witness.”—Boston Review
“Female sexuality, Catholic iconography and the New Jersey Turnpike take mischievous transformative spins in Seaton's wry, fervent and mercurial third book of poetry…[Seaton handles] disturbing material with inventiveness and radiantly precise language.”—Publishers Weekly
“Her best poems are sexy and religious, sometimes both at once, with a jubilant sense of humor.”—Washington Post
By turns chic, romantic, sardonic, droll, seductive, and in your face, Maureen Seaton is a cornucopia of attitudes and styles, a street-smart, deeply talented woman who wryly contemplates the charades that the self and the world assume—and how hard it is to stay in focus the morning after. It gets very, very hot in Seaton's kitchen and in her poems. As this inventive and imaginative poet states, “Furious Cooking is a stew of accidents and incidents rolling across universes.”
Seaton creates curious and energetic juxtapositions; she revisits violence and assesses its damages. The poet/woman in the thick of this caldron instigates polarities and assumes the roles of inquisitor and heretic, perpetrator and child, painter and artifact, scientist and specimen. She careens circularly through the hypocrisies and atrocities of church and partner, established sanctioned realities, the seeming senseless death of loved ones in this life and long ago.
The Canada geese preen
along the lake's west end,
notice our passing
like old women on a porch.
A few murmur. One growls lightly.
Monarchs flit around our legs,
refusing to land.
Something in my hand
betrays me. I speak in tongues:
You fly to the highest branch,
balance like a hawk.
The lake reflects your eyes.
I want you.
Everything I say sounds like that.
We lie beneath a beech
that weeps light and rain.
Our lips sing nonsense.
Our fingers play like children.
You draw two faces in the earth,
one with stars on the cheek,
one with tears, tell me:
The night swells around us.
Our voices, tense with lightening,
create a new silence.
Tree frogs surrender their bows,
crickets hush. Your shadow
emerges among the fireflies,
soft-edged, reflecting the moon.
I start, as if seeing you
for the first time, ask myself:
Who's the arrow and who's the swan?