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 Maryann Corbett’s second full-length collection, Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, draws on profound experience of deep winter in the lived environment, while keeping alive faith that the thaw will come and bring with it the bloom of “uncountable rows of petals.” The themes of this finalist for the 2011 Able Muse Book Award range from the quotidian to the metaphysical. Corbett’s keen eye brings to focus uncommon detail. Her masterful technical repertoire spans received forms, metrical inventiveness, and free verse. This is poetry that amply rewards the reader with its boundless imagination, insight and visionary delight.

PRAISE FOR CREDO FOR THE CHECKOUT LINE IN WINTER:

The crafted poems in Maryann Corbett’s new book are vibrant. She is a newborn Robert Frost, with a wicked eye for contemporary life. Each poem surprises. Read her poems and feel the howling snow, the mud, and the jubilance of the first warm fertile spring days.
—Willis Barnstone

What makes Maryann Corbett such a rare, excellent writer must be her talent for weaving together various artistic impulses, so that her poems often sound both traditional and brand new, both humorous and serious, both worldly-wise and, as John Keats once put it, “capable of being in uncertainties.” [She] remains a poet of the first order, and her poems are cause for gratitude, and deep enjoyment.
—Peter Campion (from the foreword)

Corbett is as comfortable and affecting within the tight confines of the Old English alliterative meter (“Cold Case”) and the Sapphic stanza (“Paint Store”) as she is with her supple blank verse and terza rima. Yet never does her rigorous craft interfere with the thoughtful, insightful content of these poems. A stunning collection, from one of America’s most gifted contemporary poets.
—Marilyn L. Taylor

Do not dismiss this collection as “domestic poetry,” “women’s verse.” Though grounded in seasonal rhythms and familiar settings, it is as vigorous, as reflective, as important as any man’s. Sharply visual, skillfully and cleverly crafted, her poems draw out essences, “concentrated” and persisting. “Beauty changes us,/ calling up wonder from our deepest selves/ to its right place.”
—Catharine Savage Brosman

These masterful poems announce themselves as winter pieces, and indeed they are so full of sleet and snow that readers may wish to dress warmly. But Corbett’s winter, a season when “dull forms come in the mail” and we eat “tasteless, stone-hard, gassed tomatoes,” is always lushly haunted by the other seasons, the way a house in one of her poems is fronted by a “three-season porch.” Corbett is one of the best-kept secrets of American poetry, and this is one of the best new collections I’ve read in years.
—Geoffrey Brock

Maryann Corbett’s Street View is a panorama of views: suburban and urban avenues, shown in leaf and in snow; alleyways where misfits lurk in darkness, but also where “Adonis, charioteer of municipal waste collection, rides with the morning”; and boulevards of old buildings whose elegance remains undeniable, even when “prinked in the clown suit of commerce.” Street View also navigates the resiliency and failings of the human body, and the memories of family and pivotal acquaintances that shape viewpoints for good or ill. This is the work of a seasoned poet in command of her craft, and deservedly, a finalist for the 2016 Able Muse Book Award.

PRAISE FOR STREET VIEW:

Assaulted, as we all are, by relentless, restless noise-throbbing subwoofers, urban construction, cynical marketing and violent news, even our own banal chitchat-Maryann Corbett “strafe[s] back with the whole Roget/ and gun[s her] engine to its own rough strife. . . .” Though her weapons, her engines, are stillness, insight, and rhythm, there is indeed a sense in which the poems in Street View wallop their subjects with language. The exquisite, seemingly effortless grace of these poems with their penetrating music and humor deserve a commendation like that the poet gives Veronese: “This is the catechesis/ we need now, for the kind of sight we work with/ here, where the world kabooms.”
-George David Clark

Given her gift with detail, Maryann Corbett is the perfect person to offer a view, but an even more perfect person to offer a “street view,” the title of her new collection. While Corbett has made a career of being precise, she can be whimsical as well, right down to the “Northrop Mall . . . as fixed and formal as an English sonnet.” Yet perhaps her greatest strength is that she is not afraid to be the quiet steady gaze that takes in everything: all the things most people would miss.
-Kim Bridgford

Maryann Corbett takes the ode less traveled (not to mention the terzanelle less tried and the dactylic hexameter almost unheard of) to oddly familiar destinations: the West Side Y in New York City, Grand Avenue in St. Paul, the dentist’s clinic. She is a rhapsodist of times past and places lost or endangered, but she also lives very much in the present. She examines experiences with shrewdness and fascination, crafting them into poems that are breathtaking in their intelligence and brio.
-Susan McLean

In Maryann Corbett’s new book, we are given a Street View on the world, from Minneapolis to Jerusalem. These streets are populated with a variety of town characters, from the vagrant to the dangerous academic “Weirdo” with his void-sucked soul who makes one think of mass killings. Suffice it to say that the street view might be uglier than the view onto the mountains or the ocean, but in that ugliness can be found a clearer view on the truth of how we live today.
-Tony Barnstone


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