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A Special Education is available from Exot Books

Reviews of A Special Education

“Meredith Bergmann’s first collection of poems offers us a special education indeed: out of the losses and silences of the personal and historic past, she summons speech, and from it creates poems of enduring (my prophecy here) artfulness. The lesson her little book offers is nothing less than what the good life is and how it may be lived.”

—Charles Martin

“What this poetry collection does is miraculous. Functioning as both microscope and telescope, each poem focuses with obsessive precision on such details as the physical features of a stranger observed at a bus stop, well-chewed toys, the “grouchiness” of a film crew on location at dawn, the bewildered huddling of a trapped bird “uncoaxable as chronic sorrow.” But then the language swings away and out, telescope-like, to take in the landscape, history, art, archaeology, the absent perfection no longer awaited at the dinner table or anywhere else in life.

That kind of scope gracefully managed is remarkable enough, but the real miracle resides in the theme deftly woven throughout, unifying the collection and identifying its constant true focus: the “education,” not only of the precious, gifted mind in the author’s care, but her own self-taught capacity for growth, acceptance, resilience and hope.

This book is a gift for all parents—for all people intent on the precarious future of what is most dear—full of lessons learned at incalculable personal cost, and shared in the language of a uniquely accomplished poet, visual artist and parent.”

—Rhina P. Espaillat

Meredith Bergmann’s poetry and criticism have appeared in many journals, including Barrow Street, Contemporary Poetry Review, Hudson Review, Light, Mezzo Cammin, The New Criterion, The Raintown Review, The Same, The Tri Quarterly Review and the anthology Hot Sonnets. Her sonnets have won honorable mentions from the Frost Farm Poetry Prize in 2013 and 2015. She was poetry editor of American Arts Quarterly from 2006-2017. Her chapbook “A Special Education” was published in 2014 by EXOT Books.

From A Special Education:

The Crouching Venus

The Louvre
Roman copy after an original of the 3rd century BC
Marble, height 96 cm

The history of art is full of pain:
sometimes within the work, sometimes inflicted
on the body of the work itself
by acts of god or vandals, acid rain,
or fashion (later versions have rejected
seven of her belly’s folds and creases,
smoothed her girth, sucked out her attribute
as goddess of inevitable birth
and left her slim, alone.) Here, missing pieces
are not missed: coy arms that convolute,
her curly head, may sit upon a shelf.
But on her back, as if to budge the earth,
a tiny hand is still attached. I’m wild
with sudden grief. I have to find that child.