“Tigers, museum docents, the planet Mars, North and South Polar things populate deft, solid couplets….Full of intelligence and discretion as they describe a world in transition.”—New York Times Book Review
The highly anticipated debut from a poet who served as an Antarctica Artist in Residence, and whose work has been featured everywhere from Granta to Fast Company to PBS NewsHour
We Mammals in Hospitable Times rushes headlong into an awfully dangerous planet: a spinning rock in outer space called Earth, where the smallest zoo animals are forgotten in fires, cats flee vacuums, lovers betray and abandon one another, basements flood as the globe warms, and an adopted parrot shrieks unfamiliar names. The narrator of these poems wavers between wary—“sometimes I mix up fear with hissed instructions”—and wide-eyed, wanting desperately to make sense of all this perplexing behavior.
Sometimes paranoid, occasionally manic, often very funny, these poems consult archaeologists, biologists, psychiatrists, encyclopedias and even aliens, trying to understand how so many disparate things can be interrelated. And even as the poet reaches some grim conclusions about our collective fate, this sense of doom only increases her awe at the strange and fleeting beauty that surrounds us, whether it be gams of satiny whales, the shiny pink hill made by microwaved bologna, or the cyanobacteria of an Antarctic lake radiating orange light.
With this highly anticipated debut, Jynne Dilling Martin delivers poetry that offer armfuls of empathy, curiosity, and spiritual force.
Reviews / Endorsements
“[A] guide who displays the wisdom of a shaman and the specificity of a scientist . . . Martin’s distinctive approach, full of complex leaps, makes this debut sound like no other.”—Washington Post
“Martin is a dreamer and questioner who recognizes both the painful absurdities of the world and our ability to thrive despite them.”—O Magazine
“Transformative…full of wondrous glimpses into arctic wildlife.”—Flavorwire
“An extraordinary poet.”—Time Out New York
“Jynne Dilling Martin's imagination is omniscient and kaleidoscopic. Like Marianne Moore and Wislawa Szymborska, poets with whom she shares a certain cosmic poetical temperament, she dazzles us with catalogues of marvelously specific terrestrial wonders, endlessly thinking them into collisions and parallelism. The poems of We Mammals in Hospitable Times explore and invent the world with such wonder, affection, and ingenuity that we come away delighted.”—Tony Hoagland
“The exquisitely imagined poems in We Mammals in Hospitable Times offer a unique portrait of our strange world, introducing aliens baffled by our inhospitable actions toward our planet and a scientist who ‘drills a hole in the sea snail’s shell / and slides a miniature stethoscope inside, listens for the heartbeat.’ Martin’s poems are sensitive as a stethoscope, insistent as a drilled hole, mournful but also threaded with the desire for understanding and transformation. These poems present meticulous and mysterious acts of hope and sadness. We Mammals in Hospitable Times should be read by every human on the planet, read out loud to the penguins, and launched into outer space on the next Voyager spacecraft.”—Matthea Harvey
“Jynne Dilling Martin is my favorite young American poet. Her dispatches from the South Pole make life on our disappearing planet bearable again.” —New York Times bestselling author Gary Shteyngart
“I will say this plainly: I love Jynne Dilling Martin's poems. Mordant and knowing, elegiac and merry, cosmic and cellular, her work is a reminder of how truly mysterious and miraculous our world is. She seamlessly stitches together the past and the present, the scientific and the subjective; with one line, she'll rip you apart, and with the next, she'll make you whole again.”—New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld
“With a rare expansiveness that is keenly felt, heroically composed, and constantly surprising, We Mammals in Hospitable Times guides us through the sudden exultations and terrors of wide-ranging explorations. In their levities and plunges, these poems make sharp and poignant the unavoidable perils and rewards of being open to this world. What an invigorating, intelligent, and tonic testimony to the art of curiosity and the power of poetry.” —Dean Young
JYNNE DILLING MARTIN’S poetry has appeared in Granta, The Boston Review, Ploughshares, Slate, and on the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Her nonfiction has appeared in Glamour, Food & Wine, and The Antarctic Sun. She was a 2013 Antarctica Writer in Residence and lives in New York City.