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Under Taos Mountain

 

Under Taos Mountain
by Penelope Scambly Schott

Poems

In Under Taos Mountain, Penelope Scambly Schott navigates the endless horizons between Magpie and Tía, the sacred and primitive terrain of the American Southwest where “each of (Tía’s) loose feathers/ sprouts a dark spruce.” Sparely written with the land’s rich vocabulary and even richer, though haunting spaces Schott convinces the reader that “(she) found these words under sage brush/ out where the houses end.”

--Rob Cook, author of Songs for the Extinction of Winter and Blackout Country

Her language stark yet voluptuous, each word a scavenged jewel, Penelope Scambly Schott has written a masterful, scintillating allegory. Set in New Mexico whose mythology she deepens and distills, the reader hears dialogue between what is human “Magpie, tell my soul/ which I thought was so black/ is not” and what is winged and wild. “Auntie, it sparkles: you beautiful slut.” Not since Ted Hughes’ Crow has a mediating bird/human consciousness been used to such powerful effect.

--Stephanie Dickinson, author of Half Girl and Road of Five Churches

 

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Excerpt:
Magpie at Night

Magpie Confesses Me

       
Penelope Scambly Schott is the author of four previous chapbooks plus a novel and seven full-length poetry books including three historical verse narratives, Penelope: The Story of the Half-Scalped Woman, The Pest Maiden: A Story of Lobotomy, and A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth (Oregon Book Award for Poetry, 2008), as well as four lyric collections, The Perfect Mother (Violet Reed Hass Prize, 1994), Baiting the Void (Orphic Prize, 2005), May the Generations Die in the Right Order, and Six Lips. At home in Portland, Oregon (where she is never harassed by magpies), Penelope works, hikes, paints, and spoils her family, especially Lily Schott Sweetdog.  
 
 

 

 
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