We Mammals in Hospitable Times

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We Mammals in Hospitable Times
56 pages; Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series

Reason: Because, one day, your friend might need the power of bologna.

Martin's debut poetry collection We Mammals in Hospitable Times touches on topics as wide-ranging as polar bears and a 16th-century love letter, and yet returns to small moments, infused with truths that resonate with just about everyone. "Sometimes seeds lodge deep in clothing," she writes, "and years later sprout out of gravesites and dresser drawers." One of the most lyrical poems in the book, "Luminescence," offers the perfect description of failed relationships: "For years, I carried the pelts of past loves/ hammered to my chest like birds of prey/ nailed to a hunter's wooden gate."  Later, plain old bologna is examined and transformed into a (hilarious) testament to resilience due to its ability to swell up in a microwave and survive when "most things would just die." Martin is a dreamer and questioner who recognizes both the painful absurdities of the world and our ability to thrive despite them, if only because "our beginnings never know our ends."
— Michele Filgate