Maiden Voyage

Poetry anthology a must read

By Tyler Tichelaar

Maiden Voyage

By the Marquette Poets Circle

Maiden Voyage is an anthology celebrating the five-year anniversary of the Marquette Poets Circle. The circle was formed in 2012 by Matt Maki to celebrate poetry and guide each member in finding his or her inner poet.

That such a fine anthology has resulted from this group is a testament to the love of poetry in this community and the dedication of these poets to their craft. A total of 33 poets are represented here, and each poet has three to five poems included.

The volume begins with a preface by Martin Achatz, poet laureate of the U.P., followed by an introduction by Richard Rastall, one of the poets and the person responsible for creating the anthology.

Variety marks this volume, and the expansive collection of themes and images means there is something here for everyone. Each poet or poem may not be to a reader’s taste, but taken together, this reader, at least, was left saying, “Wow!” for lack of a more poetic term.

I cannot quote every poem or discuss even the work of each poet in this volume, but let me provide a discussion of a few of my favorite lines and poems. Esther Margaret Ayers’ poem “Prelude and Fugue in Early Spring” opens with the lines, “In a century you could not have imagined/I sit this morning at a keyboard you never knew.” She is writing to someone who died in the last century. The implication is that life has moved on, yet dead loved ones remain with us.

Many of the poems are about the U.P. Lynn Domina, head of the English department at NMU, writes in “The Road to Happiness” about seeing Lake Superior and thinking, “I don’t want to live forever,/but I want to live/here forever.”

The late Jo Doran writes about the grief she experienced throughout her life. She wanted to write “grief large” and wasn’t able to finish a book on grief before she died. I was most struck by her poem “A Storm Quietly Brewing” in which the speaker, looking at a photo, thinks “And looking at the sky/blue of Mr. Potter’s shirt I thought how no one/in our family has ever seen him any way but old/tried to picture him smooth, with an unhampered fire.”

The seasons are also represented here. In “Winter, Superior” Amber Edmondson writes about how “You could heal yourself/at the palm of the lake/all winter long.” Alex Gubbins writes a series of “In Memoriam” poems, and in “In Memoriam Mike Brennan” he recalls how he and Mike had “drunk a bottle of James/& eaten a long conversation of winter melancholy.”

John Gubbins surprises with his powerful poem “Raven,” spoken in first person by a raven who eats roadkill but also becomes a sort of metaphorical oversoul speaking for all ravens throughout the centuries. Other poets who surprise, shock and cause laughter include Tara Hill, in her poem “I Keep You Where I Keep My Prozac,” and Jesse Koenig, in “Getting Nun,” who writes “The brides of God go celibate/like so many other bad marriages.”


To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.



For more information about Maiden Voyage and the Marquette Poets circle, visit MarquettePoetsCircle/

Editor’s Note: Tichelaar is the author of My Marquette and Haunted Marquette. All books reviewed in this column are available in local and online bookstores. For book review submission guidelines, visit

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