Magdalene: Poems

Marie Howe (Author)


Magdalene imagines the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene as a woman who embodies the spiritual and sensual, alive in a contemporary landscape--hailing a cab, raising a child, listening to news on the radio. Between facing the traumas of her past and navigating daily life, the narrator of Magdalene yearns for the guidance of her spiritual teacher, a Christ figure, whose death she continues to grieve. Erotic, spirited, and searching for meaning, she is a woman striving to be the subject of her own life, fully human and alive to the sacred in the mortal world.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
August 28, 2018
6.0 X 0.2 X 8.2 inches | 0.25 pounds
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About the Author

Marie Howe is the former poet laureate of New York and the author of three previous collections. Magdalene was longlisted for the National Book Award. Howe teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.


A smart, engrossing collection.... Readers of any religious background will find much that seems familiar in the modern-day everywoman who sees herself in the faces of a woman wearing a burka, a woman who longs for children and one who hails a taxi wearing a black suit and high heels.
Marie Howe is magic. And in this book, her biggest magic trick is making the iconic biblical character, Mary Magdalene, both mystical and relatable, at once mythological and completely contemporary.
In these powerful and accessible poems, Howe advocates nothing so narrow as a particular religious faith; instead, she seems to argue, loving the world, in spite and because of suffering, is life's great risk, and its reward.
A poignant portrait of contemporary womanhood.... This newest collection aptly demonstrates the particular strengths of Howe's wry, bittersweet talent.
Each book of Marie Howe's is a singular accomplishment, but none is as wildly alive as this.... Howe sweeps up a life and fixes it on the page, and stands here before us, the stunned and grateful witness of all that's taken and granted by love and time.--Mark Doty