Congratulations, Rhododendrons

Congratulations, Rhododendrons

Written by: Germaine, Mary

In her debut collection, Congratulations, Rhododendrons, award-winning poet Mary Germaine offers love poems to an insistently unlovely world.

Through poems that speak to plastic bags and drones as much as they admire roses and the moon, Germaine surfs the confluence of artificial and natural environments, technology, and our small but consequential feelings about them. At turns devotional and suspicious, these poems toe the boundaries of intimacy, responsibility, and reason.

In anxious times, anything can be taken as a sign; a crow, a talking coin, and a news report are all sources of information whose truth (or “fake-ness”) demand investigation. Germaine’s poems scroll from a shrine in Lourdes to an augmented-reality sandbox, from a mall filled with loitering ex–love interests to a fairy-tale ending where all the men turn out to be chairs. Funny, provocative, sly, and melancholic, Congratulations, Rhododendrons makes a case for the hope that every apparent disaster of social investment might in the end be redeemed as meaningful, genuine, or at least in some way helpful.

In her debut collection, Congratulations, Rhododendrons, award-winning poet Mary Germaine offers love poems to an insistently unlovely world.

Through poems that speak to plastic bags and drones as much as they admire roses and the moon, Germaine surfs the confluence of artificial and natural environments, technology, and our small but consequential feelings about them. At turns devotional and suspicious, these poems toe the boundaries of intimacy, responsibility, and reason.

In anxious times, anything can be taken as a sign; a crow, a talking coin, and a news report are all sources of information whose truth (or “fake-ness”) demand investigation. Germaine’s poems scroll from a shrine in Lourdes to an augmented-reality sandbox, from a mall filled with loitering ex–love interests to a fairy-tale ending where all the men turn out to be chairs. Funny, provocative, sly, and melancholic, Congratulations, Rhododendrons makes a case for the hope that every apparent disaster of social investment might in the end be redeemed as meaningful, genuine, or at least in some way helpful.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Apr 6, 2021
Specifications 96 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
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Excerpt
Written By

MARY GERMAINE is a poet, an educator, and a Ph.D. student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Her poems have appeared inThe Walrus Magazine, Riddle Fence, the ArtSci Effect, and Augur Magazine. She was the recipient of the Adam Penn Gilders Scholarship for Creative Writing from the University of Toronto and the Heaslip Award from Memorial University. Her special talents include finding lost items and having a face that reminds people of someone else they know.

PRAISE FOR MARY GERMAINE AND CONGRATULATIONS, RHODODENDRONS

Congratulations, Rhododendrons is the work of a put-pocket: an unexpected, sneakily delivered gift. Utterly contemporary and truly original, these poems meander; they play at the casual; they reflect at once a frolicking lyric sensibility and an incisive intelligence preoccupied with the big questions: the nature of nature, of time, perception, knowledge, and the self. Acknowledging this time of diminishment, of counting our losses, the poems nonetheless discover joy in the act of engaging.” — Mary Dalton, author of Hooking: A Book of Centos

PRAISE FOR MARY GERMAINE: 

Winner, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Arts and Letters Prize 

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