Martin Steingesser’s poems articulate the many seasons of the heart—joy, outrage, longing, whimsy, sadness. He speaks for poetry in every poem:a burning, tender voice that rejoices in the ungainly splendors of human feeling and in poetry’s capacity to find images that illuminate and shadow those feelings.
Whether traveling continents, or the inner world of memory and desire, Martin Steingesser's poetry is rich with the experiences of an acute observer. “O look!—this is what's happening,” says the poet, and we do, through images that are universal, and poignant— taking us on journeys “the way flight / begins in the heart”. Read these poems—you will find “. . .how neatly / sewn together we are, the way / everything fits through your (my) eye, moving through all the senses.” Steingesser is a musician, acrobat, and teacher of poetry, this book ablaze with imagination.
Front cover photograph by Roger Haile.
Martin was Portland Maine's first Poet Laureate
Martin Steingesser grew up and lived on New York City's Lower East Side, moving to Maine in 1981. Also a performance poet, he works actively both presenting and teaching in the Maine Arts Commission's Touring Artist and Artist-in-Residence programs. His poems have garnered national recognition, and he has been a Fellow of Blue Mountain Center for the Arts and recipient of the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Writers' Conference Pierre Menard Poetry Scholarship.
He says writing is a way he touches and makes present a sense of grace he wants in his life: "There are moments in poems I have made--when they are given, when windows, doors, walls are blown off, and I am in a warm, boundless space with whoever is listening."
Martin's latest performance piece The Thinking Heart, an ensemble performance work in two voices, with cello, based on the writings of a Dutch woman, Etty Hillesum, who died in the Holocaust.