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CLMP Publishers Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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Impossible Belonging

ISBN: 9781934695760
Binding: Paperback
Author: Maya Pindyck
Pages: 92
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 01/10/2023

The 19th recipient of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, Maya Pindyck's Impossible Belonging weaves personal and family histories with contemporary events and politics in the U.S. and Israel/Palestine, asking what it means to belong — to our bodies, cultures, histories, and each other. In vivid and lyrical language, Pindyck explores how we lay claim to and surrender identities shaped by historical trauma, diaspora, motherhood, statehood, and the Anthropocene.

Delving into complicated relationships between Jewishness and whiteness, the poems reckon with feelings of cultural belonging and visualize shared hopes and longings. In this collection, everything is interrelated and spiritually equal: human, moth, pear, linoleum tile, language, memory.

At once profound, playful, and rebellious, Impossible Belonging collapses distances between people, species, times, and places, opening up difficult questions and fresh, revelatory connections.


Maya Pindyck is the author of the poetry collections Emoticoncert (Four Way Books, 2016) and Friend Among Stones, winner of the Many Voices Project Award (New Rivers Press, 2009), and co-author of A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers (Bloomsbury, 2022). She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, and grants from the Historic House Trust of New York City and Abortion Conversation Projects. Her visual, collaborative, and community-based work has been exhibited at the Milton Art Bank (Milton, PA) and in New York City at the Art in Odd Places Public Festival, the Governors Island Art Fair, the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, The Clemente, and elsewhere. Currently, Pindyck lives in Philadelphia where she is an assistant professor and director of Writing at Moore College of Art & Design. She grew up in Boston and Tel Aviv.


"Your poems … read as carefully orchestrated, beautifully imagined exercises in scale. While this question of scale, and the relationship it cultivates with the spectator, is often taken into account in the visual arts, it's not as common of a consideration in poetry." - Kristina Marie Darling

"Maya Pindyck's Impossible Belonging is a collection of elemental folklore conceived from the inside and outside of bodies and the yearnings that shape them. Diaspora is complicated by the Anthropocene in this prescient collection. Pindyck unpacks the stories we shake off to seek out our own paths as mothers, Americans, as artists, and sisters with urgency and hope. At the same time, Impossible Belonging honors those legacies through the tender utterances of these crystalline poems." - Carmen Giménez Smith

" 'You have to touch the fire of letters,' writes Maya Pindyck in a startling collection of poems where we are forced to not look away from the war of language and its gouged field of bodies, blood, blossoms, and ideas. Here is the memory of a self and her home, bleakly dissonant as a war-stained country … Impossible Belonging is defiant, immediate. Beyond geographies of war, love, and words, Pindyck commands the past, present, and future: 'Remember our country/banning the book noting/our refusal to see./Remember this compass/mapping our last past.' " - Rachel Eliza Griffiths

"By extending her curiosity and wit to both big and small, Pindyck collapses the distance between dialectical categories: the literary and mundane, public and personal, home and exile, god and mortal, mother and child, poem and reader – creating at once an oracular intimacy and a radical democracy. We are invited to commune with ancestors, poets, pears, moths, the 'all in small,' where all creatures, peoples, and artifacts, are animated as spiritual equals." - Barbara Schwartz

" ... there are poems, like Maya Pindyck's, that you need to read with others. All through Pindyck's forthcoming collection, Impossible Belonging, I found myself wanting to share her poems with various friends, to read them out loud to my partner or children, and above all, to teach them ..." - Jake Marmer