University OF North Texas Press
the 2017 Maine Book award for PoetrY
the 2015 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry
Bernard A. Booker, old Maine codger and unofficial mayor of Ell Pond, knew the right ways to dig an eight-foot hole, build a maple sugar house out of a water heater, and snatch good white granite from other people’s back lots. The wry Yankee woodsman is the subject of Booker’s Point, an oral history-inspired portrait-in-verse. Weaving natural history, documentary modes, and the poetry of place, this collection evokes the sensibility of rural New England, meditations on home, work, and elders, and, above all, the pleasures of a good story.
praise for Booker's Point:
"Megan Grumbling has a powerful ear for the music and rhythms of colloquial speech. She’s subtle, conjures the natural world richly and convincingly, and her subject matter is surprising and intriguing.... Nobody else that I know of is writing like her.” — Morri Creech, judge and author of Sleep of Reason
“In Booker’s Point, Megan Grumbling introduces us to a man who nurtures his corner of the earth: he reads it, tends it, and is shaped by it in return.... Grumbling writes with such formal agility the poems are at once conversational, taut, and utterly vivid. The dense beauty of her language makes it palpable, makes a reader need to savor, to say the words aloud. She is Hopkins and Frost and completely herself. In an age of virtual reality, these poems call us back to something crucial.”—Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate Emerita of Maine and author of Rough Cradle and Otherwise Unseeable
"Megan Grumbling's book of poems is a gift to anyone who appreciates rich, graceful poems that tell an unforgettable story. I loved every word of this gorgeous book!"—Monica Wood, author of Papermaker, When We Were the Kennedys, and The One-in-a-Million Boy
"Megan Grumbling's Booker's Point...is uncommon among first books for several reasons....Most fascinating among these is Grumbling's ear, the way she combines metrical agility with a verve for idiomatic speech rhythms...." -- Brian Brodeur, The Cincinnati Review.
"The rhythms in Booker’s Point arise uncommonly precisely, like the rhythms of high jazz. Megan Grumbling is a master of fashioning natural speech rhythms into lines of poetry.... This is form, to paraphrase Robert Creeley, extending exquisitely from content." – Dana Wilde, The Morning Sentinel
"With an arresting combination of precise observation and rural language, Booker’s Point captures a way of life that is not so common anymore.... These poems do not sit still." – Ginny Lowe Connors, The New York Journal of Books
"Equal parts oral biography, meditative local history, and ground-level pastoral ode, Booker’s Point marks the debut of a distinctive and self-assured poetic voice." -- Kevin O'Connor, New Letters
"Grumbling’s prosody is remarkable throughout. She employs rhymes, whole and half, like a master....Booker’s Point represents a brilliant debut." – Carl Little, The Working Waterfront