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Little Gears of Time


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About the Author

Susan Martinello is an award-winning poet with roots in New England. She earned a B.A. from Wellesley College before moving to Europe, and currently resides in the South. Her work has appeared in POEM, Birmingham Arts Journal, the medical journal CHEST, Connotation Press, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, among others. She writes and practices Tai Chi in Gulf Shores, Alabama.


The passion in these poems both frightens and comforts me. What can we give our mothers to heal their wounds? What can we tell our daughters so that they turn their futures toward happiness? The answer is only what you already know: love, love, love, but it is a rainbow: never seek the same one twice. It is courage and hope that bend the bow and renew its dazzling, airy shape. This is a book that can strengthen generations.-- Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife; Four Spirits; Abundance Only once in a generation, or perhaps a century, does an American poet succeed in recapturing the scale and scope of America as did Walt Whitman. Even more rarely does an American poet give Whitman a run for his money. With her collection Little Gears of Time Susan Martinello has not only recaptured Whitman's scale and scope but has expanded Whitman's vision into the world of the feminine and made it relevant to America in the twenty-first century. Rarely does an elegant epic collection of this importance appear on the scene.Like Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Martinello's collection is the most American book possible, a country of immigrants whose story is best told by those who were once outside it. A stunning evocation of the lives and experiences of six women, ranging from the early nineteenth century to the present day, Martinello's collection is a heart-breaking familial saga incapsulating the wide sweep of history and experience during most of the past two hundred years. Any collection of poetry that begins with a family tree is already filled with promise.The collection could not be more relevant, given the fault lines of American life that are so exposed in contemporary life. Only through work like this one can the rifts that separate Americans be healed. Let me borrow Emerson's words in response to Whitman's first edition of Leaves of Grass to characterize my response to Little Gears of Time, "I rubbed my eyes a little, to see if this sunbeam were no illusion; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty. It has the best merits, namely, of fortifying and encouraging."-- Carlos Dews, Ph.D., M.F.A. writer and professor, Director of the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. This breathtaking book expands the boundaries of what poetry can be by adeptly using persona, history, and drawings to explore multiple generations of women based on Martinello's family. One epigraph by Cokie Roberts asks, "So what is a woman's place? For most women, it's many places, different places at different times." By its capacious spirit and imagistic ingenuity, these poems allow the reader to feel the full truth of this statement. These are poems deftly crafted that are unsentimental yet aligned to the senses. A poetic tour de force!-- Charlotte Pence, author of Many Small Fires (Foreword Reviews' IndieFab Book of the Year) and Code and Director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama

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