For what does the spirit yearn? To know God. Maurya Simon’s wonderful new book, Ghost Orchid, throws fresh light on that traditional question and answer in poems full of the sensuous language of the “Song of Songs” and the graphic images of modern disaffection. She shows us good and evil, both conscious and unconscious, and, even as she doubts such a reality, asks for God’s “touch upon our waking lives.” The yearning to know God, the legacy of human generations, has its latest expression in these ravishing poems.
“In Ghost Orchid, Maurya Simon’s stunning poems of longing, ‘angels curl their hair with corkscrews,’ Lucifer’s ‘moustache [is] glazed with powdered sugar,’ in Hell, ‘the Devil doles out / ice cubes today to four hijacked come-latelies,’ and ‘If God had a wife, she’d be a doozy.’ Lyrical, melancholic, humorous, these fresh, ambitious poems take us literally into untraveled territory.” –Maxine Kumin
“Midway in her poetry’s journey, Maurya Simon, one of our country’s finest writers, now offers us her God book, brilliantly crafted but also Blakean in its powers of illumination and insight. Ghost Orchid is a grace-haunted translation of the hieroglyphic heart, a visionary marriage of heaven and hell consummated somewhere near the crossroads of the spiritual and the erotic. We encounter not only God, ‘who loves us all to death,’ but also an ‘albino angel, a helium virgin, /who lifted off into space like a chrome rocket,’ and Beelzebub, ‘poet laureate of latrines and kingpin of sinners.’ A true master of metaphor, Simon here performs poetry’s ultimate task: the alchemy of body and soul.” –B.H. Fairchild