Now, Now is concerned with questions of time and memory: how our perceptions are shaped, moment by moment, within the continuous meeting of past and future—of what happened, and what has not yet happened, but will.
Jennifer Maier is professor of English at Seattle Pacific University and associate editor of the arts quarterly IMAGE.<./I> Her other poetry collection Dark Alphabet won the Crab Orchard Review Series in Poetry First Book Award and was named one of the Ten Remarkable Books of 2006 by the Academy of American Poets. Maier’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Poetry, New Letters, Smartish Pace, American Poetry Review, and has been featured on Public Radio International’s The Writer’s Almanac.
“Nothing gets by the poet Jennifer Maier, whether it be the oddness of celebrating the New Year instead of mourning the old or the way the smell of frying bacon can evoke a Depression era drama between neighbors or how what she calls ‘a life of ordinary good’ can be lost in an instant. Her poems capture the essence of their subjects with the wit and style of a lucid and profoundly merciful intelligence. She sees again and again into the flawed heart of things, even into her own heart, and offers an understanding that is like forgiveness.”—Mark Jarman
“What a rare joy it is to linger in the lucid, transcendent worlds of Jennifer Maier’s poems. In taut, precise language and lapidary images, Now, Now explores myriad pathways of connection, the ways desire, longing, and imaginative possibility brush up against the everyday, revealing a keen, fiercely compassionate intelligence—a sensibility so finely attuned and so clearly in love with the world that you would follow it almost anywhere.”—Rick Hilles
“Now, Now is a collection dwelling in possibility, where memory works forward as well as back, turning time into a ‘collapsible cup,’ and where clarity of impassioned thought coexists in uncanny relation to ambiguity of meaning. With remarkable grace and wit, Maier brings to light the seen and the unseen; and with a coolness of tone possessing unmistakable authority she transforms glimpses and impressions into images and metaphors that carry us into the heart of things.”—Phillis Levin
In Now, Now, Jennifer Maier's second poetry collection, time is of the essence.
Moving with quantum ease through the porous membranes of the past, present, and future, the speaker wonders: What is each moment but the swirling confluence (or shy first meeting) of past and future—of what happened, and what-has-not-yet-happened but will?
Such phenomenological questions are sparked by ordinary events: a friend's passion for jigsaw puzzles; an imagined conversation with a neighbor's dog; a meditation on the uses of modern poetry. Here, in language at once elegant and agile, intimate and universal, the author probes beneath the surface of happenstance, moving with depth, humor, and compassion into the heart of our shared predicament: that of loving what we cannot keep.
But if time in these poems is relative, it bends toward grace—even, as the title suggests, towards consolation. Taken together, the poems invite us to raise a glass to the way we're each "held light and golden in Time's mouth," and to savor something of the eternal—distilled, sparkling, already lost—inside every now.