Marie Marshall

Author. Poet. Editor.

Tag: sonnet

Vera Rich meets Taras Shevchenko at the Kievo-Percherska Lavra

I recently heard from poet Bob Newman, on his return from a trip to the Ukraine. He had been among the delegates to a commemoration of the late Vera Rich, held on the tenth anniversary of her death. This included a poetry-reading at the Ivan Franko University in Lviv. Bob told me that included in that reading was my poem with the above title, which had been published originally in issue 50 of Manifold, the poetry magazine Vera had founded, and which she had edited for many years before her death. I wrote it as a tribute to her.

As I have reported before, I got to know Vera Rich late in her life. We corresponded by email and on poetry forums. I always took her critiques of my poetry on the chin – she was very forthright – and I knew that if she praised something it must therefore be very good. Occasionally we had fun – just see our exchange of ‘Mongolian’ limericks.

Just before she died, Vera engaged me to read through her translation of the Ukrainian epic The Death of Cain by Ivan Franko. Unfortunately we never completed the work on that poem.

Anyway, here is the sonnet I wrote to Vera ten years ago. It describes her joyful arrival in heaven.


Vera Rich meets Taras Shevchenko at the Kievo-Percherska Lavra

Hey – Taras! Is that really you, old friend?
Then that was not the Dnepr I just crossed
But Jordan. This is every journey’s end –
The halls of Paradise – and I’m not lost.

They say the Lavra’s gates remit all sins,
So I have walked through three times, to be safe,
And now discover here my rest begins,
My limbs are strong, my shoes no longer chafe.

Good Lord – this air is clear! Elysium
Reminds me of Ukraine and Belarus;
So this is what they mean by “Kingdom Come” –
But Taras, what will now be asked of us?

Eternal worship? Ah – in adoration –
The seraphs’ hymns deserve a good translation!


Vera Rich 2005

A free copy of a major poetry anthology!

How would you like a free copy of a book that has been described as ‘a groundbreaking anthology of poetry’?

I was privileged to work on the editorial team of The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of Sonnets of the Early Third Millennium, which came out in the winter of 2013/2014, and brought together a collection of formal poems all written during the new century.

Producing the anthology was not a smooth ride, there was much pain bringing it to birth. During its production, one member of the editorial team left under less than happy circumstances. Since publication date, that person has made a point of touring each and every web site that invites reviews – Amazon, Goodreads, etc. – and leaving lengthy, detailed excoriations of the book. Whether these ‘reviews’ are an honest opinion or the product of pique I can’t say, but I can say that they greatly distressed the Editor-in-Chief, who invested time, effort, and money in the production of the anthology.

The ‘reviews’ in question have, undoubtedly, damaged sales. So the Editor-in-Chief has decided to offer a free PDF copy of the anthology to anyone who is willing to read it and to write one or more reviews on the various sites. They do not have to be glowing reviews, just honest ones, and the more the better. It is not possible to have the openly hostile review removed, but more balanced opinions would help to redress the situation.

If you would like to volunteer to help out, please email me (please use the ‘Readers, fans, and friends’ email address on my ‘Contact’ page), and I will arrange for the Editor-in-Chief to send a PDF copy to you.

Thank you.


‘Le Phénix renaissant de ses cendres’ – critique par Thierry Guinhut.

‘At Jenners, Edinburgh’ (detail) © Paul Thompson

‘At Jenners, Edinburgh’ (detail) © Paul Thompson

For my Francophone readers, here is a review of the sonnet anthology The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes, of which I was Deputy Editor. The review is by Thierry Guinhut, a well-regarded reviewer in France. The image above is detailed from one which contributes to the visual layout of the anthology. Thierry’s review is glowing; most reviews have been good so far, with the exception of one ‘critic’ who seems to imagine some kind of Corsican vendetta exists between him and the Editor-in-Chief. The anthology is one of the many published items you can find under the ‘Works‘ tab on this web site.

And so the Phoenix has risen at last!

phoenix2The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes is – if you didn’t know already – an ‘Anthology of Sonnets of the Early Third Millennium’. by that I mean it contains examples of this long-established form of poetry written by contemporary poets. More than two hundred and fifty poets have been included in this book, and it is the first anthology of specifically 21c sonnets to be published. Editor-in-Chief is Richard Vallance, former Editor before his retirement and the magazines’ closure of Sonnetto Poesia and Canadian Zen Haiku. This anthology is his swan song as an editor. I’m proud to have worked alongside him not only as part of the editorial team of SP and CZH, but also as Deputy Editor of The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes.

At present the book is available at Friesen Press in hardback and paperback, and from eBookPie for your electronic reader, but will shortly also be available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, etc.

I really can’t recommend it too much. I know the work that went into it, I know the personal exertion that Richard went through to produce it, I know how the editorial team toiled. Most of all I know the quality of the poetry in the book – it is outstanding. There isn’t a poet in there who doesn’t warrant more reading. The sonnet is far from dead, and those people who choose to take the form as a vehicle for their poetic expression don’t do so out of nostalgia, but because it works. This anthology is a work of quality.

Sonnet in memory of Charles Bukowski

© 2008 Marie Marshall.  Twitter @MairibheagM

© 2008 Marie Marshall.
Twitter @MairibheagM