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Nest of Thistles
Annie Boutelle

Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

Northeastern University Press
2005 • 96 pp. 6 x 8 1/4"
Poetry / Women's Studies

$14.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-648-0

Winner of the 2005 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

Born and raised in Scotland, Annie Boutelle was educated at the University of St. Andrews and New York University. Author of Thistle and Rose: A Study of Hugh MacDiarmid’s Poetry, she teaches in the English Department at Smith College, where she founded the Poetry Center. She has published in various journals, including the Georgia Review, Green Mountains Review, the Hudson Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, and Poetry. Her first book of poems, based on the life of Celia Thaxter, is Becoming Bone. She lives with her husband in western Massachusetts.

Eric Pankey is Professor of English at George Mason University. His books of poetry are For the New Year (winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets), Heartwood, Apocrypha, The Late Romances, Cenotaph (winner of the Library of Virginia Poetry Award), and Oracle Figures.

To learn more about Annie Boutelle and her writing visit her website here.

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“Boutelle’s eye for the revelatory detail, her ear for a craggy consonance and airy assonance, and her mind with its well-honed intelligence, reveal and explore the self, in particular a self wrought from history, myth, and tradition. Line by line, her “articulate relishing and mastery of phenomena in general” make a corporeal and tangible world out of the strata of yesterdays . . .” —From the introduction by Eric Pankey

“As I read Annie Boutelle's wise and generous poems, I felt that I was learning how to love the living and the dead, the darkness and the light.  Over and over Boutelle transports the reader to a world both fiercely familiar and utterly new and the results are exhilerating.  Nest of Thistles is a book of deep pleasures.”—Margot Livesey

From the Book:


When did I forget how to plowter, how
to be scunnert, how to look for foozle

under the bed? When, afraid of sounding
twee, did I stop saying wee? Who snatched

away douce and douchty? I lost my spurtle,
grew too proud to be wabbit, avoided any

kind of big stramash. Even when my Libra
soul pendulumed alarmingly, I didn’t swither.

I quarreled with the Bens, sent the burns
into exile. Did they creep slowly off, little

gray mice looking for another home (no
sleekit rodents this side of the pond)?

How proper it all became, no screech
of pipes, no eightsome reels, no raucous

ceilidhs, no cailleachs with their thin white
hairs and whisperings, no burach spreading

out across the floor. Nuala sees her
language as a boat, a coracle to launch

in the bulrushes and send off to “some
Pharaoh’s daughter.” I saw mine as

something like a wart, a fart, a sneeze.
And, oh my lost darlings, I run after you

now, wrap treacherous arms round
you, dust you off, feed you kippers

from Loch Fyne and whisky from Islay,
then pin you on the page, as witness.


Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

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Wed, 20 Jun 2012 09:54:25 -0500