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"What if the world you learned in flame and darkness/is apprehended only through these fancies?/What if the whole of it is heavenly? These urgent questions posed by Maryann Corbett at the start of her new collection The O in the Air set in motion a series of powerful poems that explore that would-be-heavenly world in all of its beauty, pain, squalor, and ordinary glory. Corbett's poems are alternately visionary - eloquent prayers that reach after the numinous - and also earthly - frank utterances that lament and interrogate the quotidian. The sacred and the profane continually rub up against one another as the poet fixes her gaze on the world around her and perceives the unexpected connections that pervade the creation. Hers is a deeply Catholic sensibility, one that is both animated and troubled by the faith given to her by her parents, revenants who haunt her memory and her poetry. These elegant, deftly crafted poems lead the reader, step by step, on a quest for an answer to the mystery of our origins and our being: "God is the question, the O in the air" the poet is hell-bent to find.
Maryann Corbett spent almost thirty-five years working for the Office of the Revisor of Statutes of the Minnesota Legislature. She is the author of three chapbooks and six full-length books of poetry. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.