Review: Maryann Corbett’s “Mid Evil”

Siham Karami

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Maryann Corbett, a poet about whom the word “virtuoso” comes to mind, has succeeded in creating in her new book Mid Evil, a collection of poems so cohesive and penetrating that even the cover seems to be part of the overall poem-world within. Both gorgeous and sinister, its darks and lights beckon us deeper to where that dimly seen image in the mirror flashes into focus for tantalizing moments.

And so we open her book, which includes translations of actual medieval poems – Corbett’s renderings of Old English, French, and Latin poems from the era, in which she is well-versed, are strikingly contemporary and real – as well as her own.

From the title piece, we learn the origin of the title, a student in her Medieval Literature class:

And the last blow is this:
in which, over and over, you call the course
mid evil literature. Yes, I suppose

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