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“The world—the time has come to say it, though the news will not be welcome to everyone—has no intention of abandoning enchantment altogether.” Roberto Calasso’s words in Literature and the Gods remind us that, in an age of reason, of mechanization, of alienation, of rote drudgery, we still seek out the transcendent, the marvelous. Ange Mlinko’s luminous fourth collection is both a journey toward and the space of that very enchantment.
Marvelous Things Overheard takes its title from a collection of ancient rumors about the lands of the Mediterranean. Mlinko, who lived at the American University of Beirut and traveled to Greece and Cyprus, has penned poems that seesaw between the life lived in those ancient and strife-torn places, and the life imagined through its literature: from The Greek Anthology to the Mu’allaqat. Throughout, Mlinko grapples with the passage of time on two levels: her own aging (alongside the growing up of her children) and the incontrovertible evidence of millennia of human habitation.
This is an assured and revealing collection, one that readers will want to seek refuge in again and again.
Ange Mlinko was born in Philadelphia in 1969. Educated at St. John’s College and Brown University, she has lived most of her adult life in New York, and also spent time in Ifrane, Morocco, and Beirut, Lebanon. Mlinko’s previous books include Matinées, Starred Wire, and Shoulder Season. She has received the Poetry Foundation’s Randall Jarrell Award in Criticism, and is currently teaching in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in Houston with her husband and two children.