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Exploring This Terrain


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About the Author

Margaret B. Ingraham, a poet and photographer, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and "grew up" exploring the woods behind her childhood home. She is the author of a poetry chapbook Proper Words for Birds (Finishing Line Press), nominated for the 2010 Library of Virginia Award in poetry, and of This Holy Alphabet (Paraclete Press), lyric poems adapted from her own translation from the Hebrew of Psalm 119. Ingraham is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Award, a Sam Ragan Prize and numerous residential Fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has twice collaborated with composer Gary Davison, most notably to create "Shadow Tides," a choral symphony commissioned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and performed on that date in Washington, DC. Ingraham lives in Alexandria, VA.


"If attention is a kind of love, then Margaret B. Ingraham loves the Shenandoah landscape--the 'waters/clucking softly on the rocks' and the 'pillar of cloud' above. 'It is all about light, ' she writes, and we are lucky indeed to bask in her mind's light in these lush, meditative poems." --Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones "There is something of Elizabeth Bishop in this new collection by Margaret B. Ingraham. Her remarkable eye and close consideration of landscape reveal a deeper mystery beneath it all. She never flinches. In her poem "Ordinary Time," she writes, 'In this light I question how to hold/blessings such as these in trembling/hands [...]' These poems are full of such blessings--each complicated in its own delightful way. Exploring this Terrain possesses a rare lived wisdom and we would do well to listen." --Michael Shewmaker, author of Penumbra. "Margaret Ingraham's poetry is a wake up call... as if to say, 'Wake up to what is around you!' She sees so clearly that her poems make me aware of my own cloudy vision and stir a yearning to see with a poet's eye." --Hattie Kauffman, author of Falling into Place. "Margaret B. Ingraham knows that sometimes the world gives us no options; we chose what we must. In seeing and naming this 'inexorable slide' she admits grace and shapes beauty, silently evoking the Isaiah poet. When Ingraham asks such questions as, 'was it the wind that taught the wolf/ to howl or did the wolf give voice to the wind/and could you hear it then...?' the poetry of Job, too, seems to alight on the page. Ingraham's formal lyricism, love of the pastoral, and overheard conversations stand in the revered tradition of Robert Frost. She is a poet who knows 'there...is no synonym for light' yet still she writes, understanding that contemporary poets are still makers and holding to the abiding truth that wisdom might just be found in seeking to name and praise the light." --Dana Littlepage Smith, author of Women Clothed With the Sun "Through its rhymes, meter, and (lightly placed) biblical framework, Exploring this Terrain means to comfort. Braiding earnest religious longing into the memories and observations of an entirely earthly terrain, Ingraham's poems hold the lushness and ease of the rural South. But the light they so often praise has a vaster scope, and "is all about... / the way it seeks a silhouette, / the way it can transform / the rough and round / to smooth and plain." This book's impulse is, above all, a generous one." --Taije Silverman, author of Houses Are Fields

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