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“The definition of metaphor/ is the transfer of burden, so pay attention.” This, the opening stanza of Maggie Blake Bailey’s Visitation, gives us a taste of what’s to come: the body “an advent calendar”; “each church a brick leaning against the night.” Bailey’s metaphors are at once startling and just-right, and her themes—motherhood, place, faith, and the narratives we carry from childhood into our adult lives—are timeless. What a gift it is to see the world filtered through this poet’s imagination and intelligence.
— M AG G I E S M I T H , AUTHOR OF GOOD BONES
“Pain is the burden of love. We are reminded of this again in Maggie Blake Bailey’s poems, which report on the experiences of family life with a candor that’s both intense and delicate. As one of Bailey’s speakers declares, There is no release without payment, / and payment is measured in damage. And yet, Visitation is also a book of repair, of putting everything back together. In lyric disclosures that look at the body, the family, and creation itself as visions of home, Visitation is a darkly moving debut book.