Idea of the Garden, The   (September 2018)

By Michael Moos

ISBN: 978-0-912592-82-4

Winner of the 2017 Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize, selected by Elizabeth Spires.

Available October 2019 

[Amazon] [Ashland Bookstore]


Praise for The Idea of the Garden:

Poems by Michael Moos often occupy a liminal space at the edge of the garden about which he so often writes, that edge beyond which wilderness begins, a wilderness which Moos is not afraid to evoke in his poems. These poems are themselves gardens, spaces where human nature and the natural world can have conversations that are at once sacred and profane. “What is thirst for, if not for talking to God?” Moos writes. He could just as well have written instead of thirst, river heron, tree, cricket, moon. These conversations that occur within the space of a Moos poem can be about God, loss, love, ongoing, ecstasy, solitude, bitterness: all the ancient topics that poems have responded to forever. In The Idea of the Garden, Michael Moos brings a distinctly contemporary sensibility to subjects of timeless importance. What more could we ask from a poet?

Jim Moore, author of Underground: New and Selected Poems, Graywolf Press


Michael Moos’s The Idea of the Garden begins with trying to recover the innocence from the garden of our cultural myth and shows us where to find a “simpler time” through our “common intelligence.”  “The Oriole’s Voice” takes us into the land that becomes our body.  Songbirds as well as birds of prey abound, and, in “Calibrations of Desire,” the persona becomes a bird, “opening and closing wings of soft brown, deep night.”  Death is present in the garden, as is love, but the listener, hearing the song of the yellow warbler,” is aware of “centuries standing still.”  At last we know that the earth itself is the garden which we enter only by teaching ourselves to listen ever more carefully.

– Deborah Fleming, series editor and press director  

About the Author

Pamela Sutton

Michael S. Moos is the author of three previous poetry collections and winner of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board and Loft-McKnight Foundation.  He has an MFA from Columbia University and was poet-in-residence for the Academy of American Poets, the O’Neill Theater Center / National Theater of the Deaf, as well as several Midwestern arts councils. In the 1970s the NEA made two documentary films of his work for Poets-in the-Schools in Kansas and North Dakota.

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