Full Worm Moon: A Book of Poems,
“Full Worm Moon, the title of Julie L. Moore’s moving new book, calls to mind both the cycle of monthly full moons that structures this collection, and the change that arrives in the loosening of the earth at the end of winter. But change and hope are two different things. As one poem puts it: ‘Sometimes there’s no such thing/as a fresh start.’ And yet Moore knows, as the first section of poems chart her marital breakup and the way broken vows rend one’s sense of the sacred, that while the world around her cannot take her pain away, it can help absorb it. And so, as this cycle of poems turns ever outward—to family, friends, paintings, books, and the natural world—Moore slowly rights herself, allowing the beauty that comes our way without our asking to do what it does best: bring the grace of new possibilities. There is a casual mastery in these poems—Moore’s attention to details allows the most ordinary of moments to tip, without the slightest poetic willfulness, into the extraordinary. And, equally tuned to life’s harshness and life’s beneficence, Moore’s Full Worm Moon finds a way to bless ‘this place [we] wander through’ even as life’s sorrows are endured.”
~Robert Cording, author of Only So Far & winner of the Ohio State University Press/Journal award
“In a lyric voice infused with Julie L. Moore’s own enduring faith, this collection mines the ruins of a longtime marriage and a woman’s solo journey towards restoration. These marvelous poems return to the locus of changing seasons, marital strife, and love – in the darkness of the fallibly human overturned by the eternal brightness of the divine. Hymning with praise, chorusing with the ancient rhythms of the earth, Moore ponders the nightmarish episodes of a marriage torn asunder and the gradual healing from trauma to springtime renewal. Here is a remarkable book, in all its graceful beauty and savagery, to savor one syllable at a time: ‘Dusk lifts the light from view—/
I know this first-hand— /then hides it like a key/beneath a stone.’”
~Karen An-hwei Lee, author of Phyla of Joy & winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize & Norma Farber First Book Award
“The full moon rises each month (Wolf Moon, Hunger Moon, Strawberry Moon, etc.) throughout this moving collection, shining down on “the gritty corridors / of [a] long marriage,” as we watch it painfully unravel. Yes, there is wreckage (“the unpredictable calculus of their separation,” “trauma’s obsidian-black cave”), but Moore also “gather[s] notes of gold in this unlikely place.” She learns to move “past memory of marriage” into “the life / [she] never dreamed of.” Moore knows how to pay attention, living Simone Weil’s dictum that “absolutely unmixed attention is prayer,” as she shows minute details like the “dusk’s mauve gauze / drap[ing] around our shoulders.” Because the book ends with “as you take each successive step,” we know that she’s safe on her journey, a path she didn’t choose, a woman newly and bravely alone. Beautifully crafted and artfully wrought, these poems will sear themselves on your memory long after you close the book.”
~Barbara Crooker, author of Les Fauves and Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems
“’What if the beautiful day is over?’ wonders Julie Moore in her shattering new collection, Full Worm Moon. And indeed, poems about the end of a marriage wring the reader. Cycling through a year’s full moons, these poems bear witness to ridicule, violence, and pitilessness. But wait–just as prayer can exorcise broken promises, so too can the natural world’s rising sap and irises mirror and enable human healing. Observing a birch tree, Moore writes, ‘Lean in. Listen to the soft/cellular breath tell you what it can.’ These poems are rich with empathy for all living creatures, especially the exploited and abused. It’s not hard to imagine Jesus striding through the cow pastures and Little League stadiums of Moore’s poems. Amidst the world’s disarray, Moore’s playful wit and exultant language ultimately proclaim the persistence of tenderness, peace, and love.
~Anya Silver, author of Second Bloom
Full Worm Moon
Sap Moon, Crust Moon, Crow Moon—
by any of its names, this moon
announces, in all its fullness, worms
stirring in earth’s softening center;
sap thawing in the maples;
snow dissolving by day, crisping by night;
& calls of crows converting from haunting ballads
to heralding hymns. A robin reappears,
throwing off the pine cloak it hid behind
all winter like a god hard to find, hard to hear,
maybe hard of hearing in the ruckus
wind made as it bayed across the plains
& yowled in the valleys, hard to see in ice
suffocating once-tasseled fields, pinecone & bayberry,
numbing perhaps even wings,
rendering the soft touch this moon offers
twisting & teeming with prophecy,
welcome, crows & robins, plucking
them from grass now breathing green,
welcome, syrup, born again, pushing through the spout,
welcome, waxing light & waning dark,
welcome one, welcome all, no matter your longing
for answered prayer, come, sun yourself
beneath the low Lenten Moon.
“Full Worm Moon” first appeared in The Christian Century.
Weights & Measures
In the unpredictable calculus of their separation, he comes
& goes—she can’t stop his returning to pour salt
into the softener or trim trees, as though such acts count
as some sort of penance. He owns the house, too.
So he makes himself at home, sitting at the breakfast bar,
running through receipts to throw his weights
& measures around, balancing his self-made
scales of justice in the budget.
The wife washes the dishes, her teeth
grinding, digging into her tongue,
as her husband subtracts every part of her he can,
complaining as he goes how inadequate
everything is, how nothing adds up.
She deciphers how to breathe only when he leaves.
“Weights & Measures” first appeared in Prairie Schooner
In Which the Magpie Resurrects the Voice of Henry David Thoreau
The Magpie, by Claude Monet, 1868-69
I am the magpie, sitting atop the wattle fence.
I embody the snow that fell overnight
& blue shadows cast by morning sun—
the fence’s & the great trees’ & yes, mine
all resting there on Normandy’s ground.
I know the woman you can’t see in the butter-colored house
who boils carrots & parsnips over the fire
& the invisible man who plows the field beyond me
in the spring. I stretch forth my black breast,
impressed that I can perch here,
or fly, depending on my need.
Once, a long time ago, I sailed through
a rainbow, & its light tinged my wings green,
so all summer long, I sang of solitude.
Still, loss sometimes weighs upon my shoulders
(though I have no quarrel with God),
as when a brother dies & I gather with others
to walk around the body & wail.
Those essentials I encounter often,
like now, for instance, as the violet mist
dissipates, I spy another man close by,
the one with a brush in his hand.
I imagine he will practice on his pale canvas
anything but resignation.
“In Which the Magpie Resurrects the Voice of Henry David Thoreau” first appeared in The Ekphrastic Review.
Broad in scope—theological, ecological, and personal—and acutely particular in details—witnessed and lived—the affecting poems in Particular Scandals explore how one endures suffering, avoiding the clichés of both bitterness and transcendence. Thus, while Moore’s poetry depicts the debilitating ruin illness wreaks, it also embraces the beauty and mystery in creation, in faith, even in tribulation itself. At the book’s core is pure paradox and insightful integration, wedding Christmas—Christ’s incarnation and eventual, willing sacrifice—to pain and grief. Thus, on the heels of Moore’s multiple surgeries and amid her husband’s serious heart problem—both while in their forties—come “flashes of hallelujah” and songs knit with Amens “un- / broken, like a world without end.” Empathetic and observant, Moore’s evocative poems also turn their attention to friends’ and other family members’ appalling losses: a stillborn infant, suicidal adolescents, and molested and trafficked children. All in all, the book portrays how Moore survives like the Sycamore tree in one of her poems, “scabbed and scarred from moments like this,” offering her “empty self / like a cup to the Lord of the storm.”
Particular Scandals a Must-Read Book of 2014
Dayton.com listed Particular Scandals as one of ten must-read books by Dayton, Ohio authors. It was the only book of poetry to make the list.
How to Order Particular Scandals
What Authors Are Saying about Particular Scandals:
“The scandal of this collection is it sizzles with such life, such particularity, such fierce pain and love, that you may not be able to put it down. Chatting about the weather, reflecting on ill health, estimating our chances of happiness, recounting adventures of a Labrador retriever and the astonishment of the incarnation, Julie Moore sounds as close as a friend. And yes, she is as trustworthy.”
~Jeanne Murray Walker, author of New Tracks, Night Falling
“These are poems that span our daily lives and ask the hard metaphysical and theological questions living brings. . . . They are alert (without sentimentality or false transcendence) to the grace and beauty, both ordinary and commonplace, that open our hearts and mouths in hallelujah. I so admire these poems that quietly refrain from false claims and extravagances, but patiently bring us—in their detailed evocations—closer to [our] paradoxical and mysterious lives.”
~Robert Cording, author of Walking with Ruskin
“What poetry can be made of [those] sufferings none of us want to live the first time around? Fine poetry, it turns out, that offers neither a romantic whitewash nor despairing doubt, but a series of beautiful particulars that offer clarity, beauty, and ‘amens’ in the midst of a world unlikely to change. Readers will be freshly charged to see joy in the scandal of living.”
~Leslie Leyland Fields, editor of The Spirit of Food
“The poems of Julie Moore’s exhilarating collection, Particular Scandals, are poised ‘on the primal edge / of wonder.’ Musical and observant, attentive to the ‘mystery that envelops us,’ she glimpses the eternal in ordinary things, such as the birds she lovingly identifies, from vulture to white-breasted nuthatch. Even in a ‘universe of pain,’ she discovers how to praise, as any real poet must.”
~John Drury, author of Creating Poetry
A Book of Poems
Julie L. Moore’s observant, vivid, calmly moving poems are centered in her own home, in her own everyday life, but they radiate outward, taking in what’s distant, invisible, and hard to comprehend as well as what’s intimate and “in close proximity.” The ornamental pear tree that “slips / out of bloom” is emblematic of the insight that everything is in a process of becoming. Her courageous poems face death and inexplicable illness, finding themselves able to “buoy in the wake / of the passing day.” Through particular acts of noticing, paying attention to friends, family, and a life-list of creatures, she comes to a hard-earned faith, discovering “magnified / through sun and glass / reason for our being.”
The world’s stubborn strangeness, its painful loveliness, and the search for traces of God amidst its people and creatures—Julie L. Moore braids all of these obsessions beautifully together into these luminous, resonant, unflinching poems, and somehow finds hope for this world among it all.
The poems of Julie L. Moore’s Slipping Out of Bloom reveal an edge: fine, sharp, reflective, dangerous. She acknowledges lines that unite us and divide us yet lingers over the enchantment born from a fruitful blurring of those borders. Moore has lived to tell us about the places in our world where the delicate and the durable meet and merge. The sheer and piercing audacity of her words will wake you to the sound of your own breathing.
~Eric Paul Shaffer
These poems are crafted from Julie L. Moore’s daily life—walking Maggie the dog, sawing up a beloved, fallen tree, playing Scrabble with her family, noticing how leaves are strewn like letters across a flat, Ohio lawn. Her poetry refrains from overstatement and extravagant gesture. It delineates many subtle colors on the palette of human suffering and faithfully documents nuances of joy. What a rare pleasure to read a book so honest, so humble, and so utterly trustworthy!
Jeanne Murray Walker
Praise for Slipping Out of Bloom
Cover by Ricky Normandeau
Published by Finishing Line Press, 2006
Available for purchase at amazon.com for $14 + s & h, or by contacting me personally (I’ll be glad to autograph it for you!)
In Election Day, Julie L. Moore unearths the beauty and frailty in both the natural world and the landscape of pain. Negotiating the often blurred boundaries between visible and invisible realities, her poems traverse the expanse between awe and uncertainty, perseverance and surrender, tough questions and even tougher answers.
Praise for Election Day:
“Like Keats, Julie L. Moore turns illness against itself, letting the agony and urgency of a body in distress cast a lovely and penetrating light over the surface of the world she moves through.”
– George Bilgere, winner of the 2006 May Swenson Poetry Award for Haywire
“Julie L. Moore wonders at the vast distance in the small spaces between us all, and she discovers that pain, our own and that of those we love, is a place where a good long look provides a perspective on what we must endure. ”
– Eric Paul Shaffer, winner of the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature and author of Lahaina Noon
“Attentive to the natural world and human relations, resisting all easy consolations, Moore explores her own mysterious illness, a friend’s suicide, and the complex network of her life with clarity and insight. She discovers among the terrors and confusions of this life a tender music, a beauty ‘so intense, it didn’t look real’–and even the possibility of a tough-minded faith.”
– Jeff Gundy, author of Deerflies, winner of the 2005 Nancy Dasher Award
About Finishing Line Press:
Finishing Line Press is a critically acclaimed poetry publisher based in Georgetown, Kentucky. In addition to the Chapbook Series, of which Election Day is a part, it publishes the New Women’s Voices Series and sponsors the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition. Finishing Line Press and editor Leah Maines were featured in both the 2001 and 2002 Poet’s Markets.