Four Way Books
by Deborah Bernhardt

Winner of the 2004
Four Way Books Intro Prize
selected by Marianne Boruch

ISBN: 1-884800-72-6
paper, 90 pages, $14.95

How even to talk about what it is to read these haunted, ecstatic (wily so, calmly so) immensely likable, edgy poems that Deborah Bernhardt has given us? They’re surprising, yes. You never know their next step, where they might leap, or return. The language and cadence—fractured, whizzing—of our most wired new century lives in them though Bernhardt’s subjects are ancient: love and family, ache and hope, remorse and grief worked out in memory and right now, that dazzling look-at-this. And I did. I kept coming back to look at and through these poems, both solaced and unnerved by their energy and wit and darkness, their patience—even given their great restlessness—the meticulous care in which they were made, the ghosts of Bishop, Dickinson, Cummings, Hopkins here by name and spirit, how be they transformed, flooded, rekindled, all so oddly cherished. Welcome this poet, this very original eye and ear and heart.

– Marianne Boruch, judge