In her new collection, Mary Moore Easter opens the door on black worlds—home ground to some, less familiar to others—adjusting her register to the mood and subject at hand. In some poems she reacts with fury to the American political system, while in others she reflects on the richness of her heritage and depicts episodes in a life punctuated by personal loss and sustained by the renewal of love. Whether the mood is pensive, exuberant, or outraged, Easter's poems offer us glimpses of black culture burnished with a fresh eye, replacing time-worn stereotypes with lived experience, wit, and craft.
In one poem she describes the pleasure her father took pronouncing the syllables of Chaucer's Middle English; in another, with an entirely different tone, she imagines herself driving through the state of Virginia with recent victims of racist crimes at her side and in the back seat. There are love poems and poems of rage directed toward patronizing colleagues. Music rumbles consistently through pages that flicker with the harshness of her racially restricted existence, establishing a rich and beautiful matrix of emotions.
Poet Jericho Brown notes that the poems "travel, dance, and strut from Richmond, Virginia, to Sierra Leone and back," while Patricia Smith describes the collection as "a complex road map of Black memory and tradition."
In addition to From the Flutes of Our Bones, Mary Moore Easter is the author of three other books of poetry. Her poems have been published in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Christian Century, Water~Stone, SoFloPoJo and several anthologies. Raised in a musical household, her love of poems and the poetic voice persisted alongside her adult career as an independent dancer/choreographer and Founder and Director of Carleton College's dance program. Her awards include: Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2020), Pushcart Prize-nomination, Bush Artist Fellowship in Choreography, multiple McKnight Awards in Interdisciplinary Arts, The Loft Literary Center's Creative Non-Fiction Award, and residencies at Ragdale and The Anderson Center. Easter holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence and an M.A. in Music for Dancers from Goddard.