Wonderful Terrible


In stock

Poems by

Dion N. Farquhar

Poetry chapbook, 88 pages, $14 cover price

ISBN: 9781-59948-429-7

Release date: July 16, 2013.


Dion N. Farquhar

Born in 1947, Dion Farquhar is a poet and fiction writer. Many years ago, she chose adjuncting in New York over tenure track in a rural town, though soon after, love catapulted her into Santa Cruz, where she lives with her partner and their nineteen-year-old twin boys (when home from college). She continues to scratch in the post-apocalyptic redwood dust for work while relishing the upsides of life on the Left Coast. She still misses the old country and her friends and family in Manhattan and Brooklyn, especially off-off Broadway theatre. Recent poems appear in moria, Shampoo, BlazeVOX, etc. Her first poetry book Feet First was published by Evening Street Press in 2010, and her chapbook Cleaving appeared with Poets Corner Press in 2007.

In her new book, Wonderful Terrible, Farquhar continues her exploration of the poetry of what might be called harmonious cerebral dissonance (which for her is mostly a kind of carnival) so effectively begun in Feet First. Hers is an art of bricolage, informed by an intelligence that is antically skeptical at every turn, making these poems’ moments of strong feeling (of which there are many) shine the brighter against their mordancy. The voice in most of them is telegraphic, urgent, drawing the reader in through the assumption of a shared culture. Farquhar’s authorial stance is not one of differentiation but of inclusion, and an abiding eagerness for the tragicomic aperçus that life on this planet abundantly delivers to those who look for them.

–Jeffrey Gustavson,
former editor of Epiphany


Dion Farquhar’s Wonderful Terrible starts with the Unsustainable and ends telling the reader to Go Figure. In between the poet tells us, “Shoot on sight the word beautiful about a face”. This is poetry that knows how to find the wonderful in the terrible, yes, but doesn’t fool itself that it is always in there. Sometimes the terrible’s just terrible, and the wonderful’s wonderful, and Farquhar’s in turns ascerbic, funny, furious, and touching poetry never minces words when there’s more pressing subjects to mince. This poetry is political the way being alive is political. And while “maybe its chuzpah”, it is necessary.

–James Maughn,
Author of Arakaki Permutations


Dion Farquhar’s new collection of poems dilates the world in all its complexity and offers its details as the wonderful and terrible facts of existence. Her modes vary between intimate portraits of family members and more expansive lyrics that take on the frayed ends of history. In turn, each poem becomes an elegy and a celebration, making generous room for its subject. Her eye for detail and sense of humor are wonderful gifts for readers. I am glad Farquhar is not afraid to revel in the sound of her own wit and intelligence. We should not be either.

–Juliana Leslie,
author of Green Is for World



I edited the Maharishi’s books.
He was that close to me,
gesturing with her arm cupped,
held out two feet in front of her.

He was perfect.
His moons were perfectly aligned.
We were totally in sync.
It was incredible.
When I left the Ashram
I was pure light
and this guy saw it
and was attracted to me for it.

He wanted to be together.
I said, ‘We can’t be together
if we’re not married.’
He said, ‘So let’s get married.’
And we did.
But then we had to live together
and that was pure disaster.
It lasted seven months.


Decades before
the diagnosis
when we all
felt eternal,
by passion,
a lover coiled
around me in bed
running a hand
over a hip,
Who do you think
is going to die first?
What? I said,
to scrutinize
his face.
It won’t matter
because we
won’t be together.



Is it ill I speak of the dead
to say she was not the closest friend
though our many differences
never approached argument.
Was it fear or a failure of zeal
that fueled our mutual respect?

So why did I feel dishonest
for all my drugs, sex, & rock n’ roll,
for living weekends I couldn’t explain
while she never got high
reported on raising her daughter,
functioning as a family.

All her stoic savvy
the take-charge pragmatism
& everything we shared like contempt
for unacknowledged privilege
and not suffering complainers
being good cooks, loving food

before stomach cancer starved her to death.
The decision to kill herself
–never acted upon–
like jettisoning the foot-dragging
passive-aggressive husband
just before the diagnosis.

If you would like to read more of Wonderful Terrible by Dion N. Farquhar, order your copy today.

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