Windy grassy ancient seabottom: upper midwest beginning of the plains where the antelope played and the swan swam along then newcomer’s wheat farms and, sense of place? Marquart gives us the place from every side—the earlier wild and the now failing farms, both loved and abhorred, no simple piety of place and work here—but another kind of sustainability is hinted at. Her writing—spare, sinuous, gnarly, sparky—and a life that’s hands-on personal whether expert chores or runaway romance; painful but never self-pitying, hard-won illuminations. She enlarges the debate and transcends the dichotomies. Here’s where “wild” finally means free, and “nowhere” is another term for this world.
—Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Turtle Island and Mountains and Rivers Without End
The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays Between Exile & Belonging
Wallace Stegner wrote that there are two sorts of people: boomers are those who pillage and run, those who want to “make a killing and end up on Easy Street,” and stickers are those who “settle in and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” The essays in The Night We Landed on the Moon explore the interstitial tension that exists between booming and sticking, exile and belonging—the dilemma of the restless homebody.
The essays employ lyric language and segmented forms to highlight the fragmentation of self. The travel pieces explore how pilgrimage and wanderlust might earn one global citizenship. “Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Weather” focuses on the Midwestern preoccupation with weather, and other essays in the collection examine how a sense of belonging changes when one’s homeground is altered by time or other powerful external forces. [purchase]
Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence
So unexpected, so revelatory, such exquisite prose (and poetry) these ‘sequences,’ as the editors choose to call them, may be undefinable, but they are certainly not indescribable. I describe them as hypnotic, startling, and alive.”
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire and The Hell With It
Nothing to Declare is a ground-breaking anthology of cross-genre work. What you will find here are linked prose poems, narrative sequences, lyrical essays, koans, fairy tales, and epistolary addresses. It contains the work of over fifty writers including Nin Andrews, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Marie Harris, Jim Harrison, Gian Lombardo, Debra Marquart, Julie Marie Wade, and Gary Young.
Small Buried Things: Poems
“A game of hearts, a missile silo, a fragile musical instrument, a war wound, the devastation of fracking, a missing bottle of perfume, a word torn from a dictionary—all are part of the ‘small, converging world’ that inspires Debra Marquart’s beautiful and urgent collection. Through her vision, we learn to see in new ways the often hidden interconnections between body and earth, love and loss, self and family, memory and language.”
—John T. Price, Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships and Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father
The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere
A wry, moving memoir about a family farm, a father, and a daughter, and why it’s so hard to go home again. Debra Marquart grew up on a family farm in rural North Dakota, on land her family had worked for generations. From the earliest age she knew she wanted out; surely life had more to offer than this unyielding daily grind, she thought. But she was never able to abandon it completely.
“In this distinctive, beautifully written memoir, she chronicles this process of flight and return, not only from and to a particular landscape, but to respect and admiration for her father. Complex, lyrical, utterly unsentimental, often funny, Marquart’s singular voice offers a deeply intelligent rumination on the meaning of native ground, on freedom and security, and on the forging of identity. It brings to mind the very best of those who have written about the natural world and a sense of place–John McPhee, Wallace Stegner, and Kathleen Norris among them.”
From Sweetness: Poems
A prize-winning poetry collection, selected by Dorianne Laux for the 2000 Pearl Poetry Prize.
“A beautiful and remarkably intimate book. From Sweetness is bursting with sweet poems with tremendous bite.” —Lisa Glatt
“These are poems of a world rendered specifically, characters lovingly articulated, landscapes redolent with possibility and life.” —Dorianne Laux
The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories
Short stories and short-short stories about traveling rock musicians that focus on the unseen, less than glamorous side of touring as a struggling rock band—the personal tolls, the grueling poverty, the gnawing hunger for fame, and the small and unlikely moments of redemption. These characters are slowly realizing that their dreams are slipping away, that age and hard living have worn them down, that their funky, rootless, rock & roll lives have not taken on the grandeur they’d envisioned.
Everything’s a Verb: Poems
In her first collection of poetry, Marquart looks back on her childhood, her family, her sense of place, not with nostalgia but with a lyricism and wit that take the reader on a fascinating journey. Every subject touched on—from fond remembrances of a German grandmother to an abusive ex-husband—is infused with passion and made transcendent by an extraordinary gift for language.
“Marquart looks forward to finding her place in society as a strong, independent woman and confronts some of the harsher realities of what that experience means in our world. The directness of her lines, the music of her voice, and the edge she achieves through her ironic twists and turns, make a compelling book, a stunning debut for a poet we’ll all want to follow.”
—Mary Swander, author of Driving the Body Back