What Remains


Poems by

Caroline Maun

Poetry chapbook, 40 pages. Cover price: $14

ISBN: 978-1-59948-427-3

Release date: 2013




Caroline Maun

Caroline Maun is associate professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She teaches creative writing and American literature. She is the editor of The Collected Poetry of Evelyn Scott, and author ofMosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle. Her poetry publications include The Sleeping and Cures and Poisons.


In this beautiful and essential new collection, Caroline Maun hits her full stride as one of America’s finest young poets. The poems in this new collection are deeply felt and fully realized. Maun takes her readers through the hurt and loss of death to the promises of life in a new garden. Each of these poems brings to the surface the poetic news that all too often remains buried in the heart and soul of humankind. In the end, this poet shows us all how we can “make peace with broken times” if we take the necessary time to “plant a new crop in old earth.”

–M. L. Liebler,
editor of Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams


Maun’s new collection vibrates with a sorrow so genuine, yet so finely crafted, that, like her mother’s ashes gliding gracefully inside a beautiful old vase, the poems contain in exquisite shape what otherwise may have been inchoate loss. The poet’s observations are brutal in their honesty-her hand becoming a prosthesis for her mother’s overwhelming physical needs; breathtaking in their tenderness-the re-embodiment of her mother in trivial everyday objects, like hairpins. What Remains also teaches us how to forgive by loving what is necessary and understanding the need to recognize and uproot the riotous takeover of noxious beauty.

–Anca Vlasopolos,
author of Walking Toward Solstice and The New Bedford Samurai


Though a moving collection that includes the people and things lost from the poet’s life, this is not a book of elegies. In a poem about her late mother’s habit of collecting plastic bags, the surviving daughter writes “slowly/I’m using what remains.” And that is the memorable gift Caroline Maun has given her readers: a clear-eyed view of the things we carry into our uncertain futures.

–Keith Taylor,
author of If the World Becomes So Bright and Marginalia for a Natural History


For some dying persons the circumference closes
to exclude even a sip from a bent straw,
or a drop from a Styrofoam cup.
When they say you can’t suck a sponge,
you know where you are.

My mother knew. She looked like you look
when you’ve been ripped off,
when no court will hear your testimony,
where no laws can shelter you.
She had to leave it unfinished, even this urge
for simple refreshment-survived by the soap
in the dish, the socks on the floor,
the milk in the fridge, souring.


Angels and Accidents

I was always wary of that tree,
suspicious of its naked bole
and the echo when I knocked.
Infirm, half-dead, still shading us,
but threatening.
I wrote letters to the city.
On windy nights, I’d go
to the back room and toss.
Everything has a lifespan,
even eighty-year-old maples.
The sky was filled with dead lumber
and pointing limbs.

Sometimes what you predict . . . happens:
I couldn’t make sense of the leaves
filling the windows. After it fell,
I took the next breath, astonished.
Everyone ran out into the storm, shouting,
not knowing what was more monstrous.
In another time we might have danced.
The tree stretched over four lots,
its roots a knotted havoc levering
the sidewalk like styrofoam.
We peered at each other sideways, reduced
to back slaps and hand claps.
In spite of the street crowded with houses,
it missed us.
Venus Flytrap
Mouth and stomach,
lure and snare,
each pink flare
prepared to catch.

These traps, all trigger-
hinged hairs, fringed edges
blockade the midrib, snatch
a little meat, preferably
with a side of struggle.



If you would like to read more of What Remains by Caroline Maun, order your copy today.

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