The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception
poetry by Martha Silano
Winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, selected by Campbell McGrath.
2011 • 80 pp. 6 x 8"
Poetry $14.00 Paper, 978-0-9818591-9-4
With humor and musicality, Martha Silano’s The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception rollicks through fourteen billion years of cosmology: galaxies, aliens, an astronaut’s dropped glove. When she’s not picking a bone with a short-sighted and side-talking populous, she’s conceiving her own personal Big Bang. When her nouns are diaper and bibs, Silano sticks to a larger vision, seeing past gelatinous mashed peas toward the moon and stars. This cosmic-consciousness is woven right in with the mittens and the meercats, her lens taking in not only the crumbs she must wipe up, but also polio-stricken nations, the hungry Eritreans, “the old man who shuffles along / as if he might be carrying / in that steamy bowl / all our children’s futures.” We’re all “sibling citizens of this swirly world,” writes Silano, but she knows that danger lurks not only in the heavens and the atmosphere, but on our glistening streets. As Campbell McGrath notes, The Little office of the Immaculate Conception is “comic and wise, quotidian and celestial.”
“This book is a unique and delightful collection, a promise of surprises.”
—Kristin Abraham, New Pages
"Silano’s poems are miraculous in their navigation of dark matter and light, in their finding a way to move forward 'into nothing on a map.'"
—Foreword Book Reviews
"I honestly see our new American Vallejo in Martha Silano, one to offer us both hope and outrage against this new bloody century."
—Sean Thomas Dougherty
"Like Whitman's, Silano's are poems of large embrace and sweep, both linguistically and thematically."
—David Graham, Verse Wisconsin
"The use of sonic riffs and raucous humor enliven this work of the domestic and the divine -- Silano's frenzied diction is just as much rooted in play and pleasure as in exhaustion or pain. This sense of celebration, paired with a sense of wonder at one's surroundings provides a comforting antidote to alienation."
—American Poet, The Journal of the Academy of
American Poets, Fall 2011/Volume 41
"Silano boosts you out of your chair and pushes you to turn whether she's being petulant or luminous."
—Susan Grimm, Barn Owl Review
"Silano has a full poetic toolbox, and wields it with a deft hand. She can leap from 'stretch Lycra' to 'stretch limo' in a single line. But it’s her laugh-out-loud sense of humor that will linger. Edgy, risk-taking, and bristlingly alive with language, Silano’s poems have both gravitas and gravy.
–Barbara Crooker, Valparaiso Poetry Review
"All of Silano's poems are accomplished, and her best poems feel important. She gathers the vast and various array of images the world has to offer and presents it to us with the rhythm of litany, the wink of a joke, and the reverence of prayer."
—JD Schraffenberger, Rain Taxi
"The everyday joins together with the holy, the high, however it comes.... In Silano’s hands, these poems present a universe where the fractal reigns, and it’s difficult to tell where the center begins and ends."
—Éireann Lorsung, Cerise Press