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The Terrible Wife,

Terry Ann Thaxton

The Terrible Wife, Terry Ann Thaxton


Publication Date: 15-Feb-13 | ISBN: 9781844719167 | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 84pp | Format: Paperback

UK & International Distribution: Grantham Book Services | Publishing Status: ActiveShop online at HiveFind your local bookshop




The Terrible Wife, in this new collection of poems by Terry Ann Thaxton, has married four times and imagined marriages to a soap opera star, her brother-in-law, and any man who will give her a ride because she “wanted to be / part of a wall of women dancing / water falling from the sky or a fountain.” Taking cues from her own mother — who is, to this troubled soul — “an argument against becoming a wife” — she sets out to find meaning: “We march out into the trees / or fly off our balconies looking for a man, / any man.” But still she judges herself through the lens of the men she clings to for comfort like “a woodpecker … clings to [a] hollow / tree.” Thaxton does not find easy solace for her terrible wife, but instead lets her confusion and weaknesses clink and jangle like wind chimes in an approaching storm. This broken resonance with its disarming images and unpredictable movements is given to us in a voice devoid of self-consciousness and posturing. Thaxton’s poems are as compelling as a lifetime of snapshots spilled on the floor, discovered in a box that, moments ago, one didn’t know existed.


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Acknowledgements; Part I.?Free Girls; Free Girls; The Beach; Girls of the 1960s Grow Up and Get Married; The Brick Walkway; The Photograph of My First Child; Wife-in-Training; & After; Part II.?The Men of My Dreams; House on the Creek; My First Rental; The Preacher’s Wife; Don’t Marry Your Brother-in-Law; “Dragonfly With Red Wings”; The Night I Married Jasper Jax; Lost Hunger; The Cold Rising of the Sun; The Terrible Wife; Part III.?Where Things Lie; Tractor Song; Haircut; Rock Beneath Orange Tree; Birdsong; Sounds Coming Through Empty Sky; From a Cabin in Portal, AZ ; Burden of Memory; Where Things Lie; Part IV.?Trouble in Paradise; Bougainvillea ; Trouble in Paradise: A Four Act Play; The Gravel Road; Atrial Fibrillation; cerebrovascular accident; Fighting Back; After Dinner; Part V.?Toward Something; Hope; Trapped; Trying to Name It; Displaced Housewife; The Bench Outside My Life; Toward Something; Epilogue of Our Play ; The Empty Trail


“Terry Ann Thaxton’s new poems are uncompromisingly tough self-reckonings, unsentimental but always vulnerable examinations of how the past invariably haunts us. They are about what Richard Ellman labels the “controlled seething” from which enduring art must derive. They are also marvelously inventive in their ability to let the memories of Eros morph into occasions for exorcism, and to allow straightforward narrative to suddenly swerve toward the surreal. In other words, these the durable and always impassioned poems of a grown woman — and the sort of poetry that American verse very much needs these days.” —David Wojahn


“Tangled in lush Florida landscapes and laced with birdsong, Terry Ann Thaxton's rich new book is as toughly accepting as her own small town protagonist girls, who are unforgettably beaten, duped and finally opened into a womanhood that makes them too smart, too sad, and too dangerous for any one man or lifetime.” —Terri Witek


“Terry Ann Thaxton's new poems are filled with birds and silence … she is open with herself, even about the hard things … She shows us how it went, from young fantasy to brutality to more fantasy to betrayal (sometimes her own) followed by near-despair. Finally, she settles into a quiet joy which she proceeds to undermine because she is wise enough to know that everything, even that, changes … Thaxton says that what we think about all this is up to us, but we know what's true. We hold the tenderness to our chests and take it home.” —Lola Haskins



Terry Ann ThaxtonTerry Ann Thaxton is an award winning writer. She teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Main Street Rag, Futurecycle, Connotation Press, The Missouri Review, Fourth River, Cold Mountain Review, Teaching Artist Journal, and other literary journals.

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