Begin with Trouble: Poems Inspired by the 1727 New-England Primer (Paperback)
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Poetry. Volume XII of the Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series.
Inspired by the small book the New- England Primer of 1727, Martha Carlson-Bradley brings to life the world of the New England Puritans, a world where astern God chooses the elect and is to be adored and feared, where obedience to that God is paramount for he 'reckons your worth, ' where cruel death is always near and work is highly valued. I love these precise, intelligent, compassionate poems for their perfect blend of history, scholarship, imagination, and poetry. And especially for their portrayal of the primer itself, its woodcuts, its pages, and for the power of the voices that speak from the poems. This is a book to be read slowly and savored and then read again. --Patricia Fargnoli
Begin with Trouble is in essence a letterpress book, which through its very making both tells and reverses its story-that of the Fall, of dominion and divide, of 'the down low and the / up high' as embodied by the lessons of 1727 New-England Primer. Martha Carlson Bradley brings to the fore, with her own sharp-edged lines, the mortality of all humanly formulated mandates that arise from the great transpersonal stories. This is a book for our time in which, like then, perhaps like always, deep and life-giving truths are refused and in their place, 'ink, uneven, creates / odd wraiths that writhe / through a group of children's faces.' It invites us to imagine an otherwise, to give the children of the world another story to live by. In BEGIN WITH TROUBLE Martha Carlson Bradley has given us the kind of book onwhich our lives depend. --Diane Gilliam.