Books

Poetry

Sweet Velocity (Lost Roads Press, May 2017)

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“Rachel Moritz’s poems are a presence, and in being so they reflect all that is absent from them. Absorbed by their language and their mystery, I think of Wallace Stevens who writes about the “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” As Moritz writes, this is the magic of poetry: Something transparent,/we know,/still contains.” In Sweet Velocity, the nothing that is appear as footnotes that act the way light does when casting a shadow: people, reflections, and observations appear, cohering at thresholds but not fully coming into view. There are silhouettes of a mother, a child. And there is everything else that comes into these poems as the space that surrounds them. Moritz’s poems are exquisitely crafted reminders that our inner self is a “figment of making.” There is such sweet velocity in following how her figments subtly transform through the lines of her language, which seem to mark and erase at the same time. Exquisite! ” — Kirstin Prevallet

“We know ourselves / by serration.­” Rachel Moritz’s powerfully sweet Sweet Velocity delivers a lived-in world — material, object-oriented and also lyrically distinctive. The song here treats a serene, sometimes bemused, engagement with life passages—the essentials of coming into and going out of the world, of bringing about and of letting go. But Moritz’s song, like the Dickinsonian one, also abrades the conventions it observes. Poetry is the result. An eccentric system. “[S]tops of flow before the animal.” —Aaron McCollough

“Sensory in internal reflection, Rachel Moritz’s Sweet Velocity traces the transformation of
woman to mother with a focused delicacy that is at once blunt and tender. We see one identity in continual erosion (“my earlier self/stitched across some light fuse/while it closes”) as two new identities emerge, within herself and in her son (“so I mother a form/into pants, jacket, hat”). She examines the blurred interchange of desire and loss as the painful and confusing essence of change. Her quiet and careful voice moves boldly into her existence parallel to her son’s “future taking form/in our next room,” recognizing that “this world is brutal//or rather, evolutionary.” Moritz testifies to the intimate and exhaustive curiosity which breeds love of self and others.” — Matt Henriksen


Borrowed Wave (Kore Press, October 2015)

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“Book of memory, of metaphysics, of intimacy and of sex, book of selfhood and place, Borrowed Wave travels from childhood landscapes into adulthood’s uncertain territory, each of its poems ‘visceral as/becoming is.’ Syntax is the protagonist of these poems, a singular intelligence singing its way through the vicissitudes of coming to know itself in body and in thought. ‘The soul is real,’ Moritz writes, ‘but what does she want?’ This book embodies the canny paradox that the more we come to know ourselves as adults, the more the essential questions of Being deepen. ‘In love with making an unknown thing,’ Moritz has a remarkable, rare gift for bare narratives whose restraint and abstraction allow the things we think we’ve come to know to become unknown again, so we might know them more accurately in all their weird oblique beauty.” —Brian Teare

“The borrowed wave is a wave of nostalgia. Whose? From whom is it borrowed? To whom lent? What’s that hiding word-spirit behind the wind in the curtains? What else is going on while the girl observes her family and surroundings, and what of those half-hid intuitions does she make her own? All of them and then some. The love-child of Lyn Hejinian and Elizabeth Bishop, Moritz evokes, in sweet paratactical bewilderment, the fear that is never far from wonder in a sensitive child’s lang-scape. ‘… cormorants and otters swam close/ to the text, hoping for names.’ And she names them, this girl-god, girl-poet, as if she is the first.” —Maria Damon

“We sometimes view beauty with suspicion—how does the pleasure it affords seduce us, mislead us? The startling beauty of Rachel Moritz’s poems serves a different purpose. This beauty spatializes experience as an exquisite, if partially remembered—wavering—landscape. In that way, Moritz employs the beautiful as a tool that teaches us to be suspicious of time, space, and experience.   (“So you can believe in the past, but it is still deciding.”) The reader wanders this poetry, immersed in the poet’s quandaries: “Who were you waiting for before you came?” and “Where was my body when before/hadn’t vanished?” The questions are necessarily inconclusive. Even so, Moritz pursues with patience, skill, ardor. The Borrowed Wave laps at our feet, soothing. And then it swells and overtakes us.” —Elizabeth Robinson

“The poet here reports on a world borrowed and remembered, yet still unmade—‘unmade as wilderness.’ In her thinking and in her telling, Rachel Moritz sets the reader on a pilgrimage, moving out of both shared and individual history and out of belief. The landmarks of politics and family and understanding are refracted and reframed in her thinking and in her telling. If you hold onto your breath, you’ll find yourself in a place of new meaning. That world is filled with song. This book is wondrous and heartbreaking.” —G.E. Patterson


Chapbooks

How Absence (MIEL Books, 2015)

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“Rachel Moritz’s How Absence is a stunning collection that lurches with open arms, seemingly in slow motion, seemingly quietly, and seemingly with a surfeit of pause, pause, pause—toward her infant son’s creation, and toward her own mind’s creations. The language here, like the infant’s making, like everything that’s invisible, (like absence), becomes the immensely weighty presence: ‘Something transparent, we know/ still contains.'” —Sarah Vap



Many forms in water (above/ground press, 2014)

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Elementary Rituals (Albion Books, 2013)
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“Moritz has focused the gaze and grounded it in moments that often possess a great deal of emotional weight. She has shown an incredible ability to represent pain as both acute and constant in lines that magically contain such material.” –Caroline Wilkinson



Night-Sea (New Michigan Press, 2008)
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“Dark and beautiful and strange, NIGHT-SEA is the second chapbook by Rachel Moritz (author of THE WINCHESTER MONOLOGUES, also by New Michigan Press), and further extends her interests in the curlicues of language and history, past the world of the senses.” –New Michigan Press

“Moritz’s laconic lines and couplets are like surgical incisions, direct, controlled—with a sense of bloody life oozing all around them.” –Lucy Beiderman



The Winchester Monologues (New Michigan Press, 2005)
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“This is a really unusual and lovely book. The first half of the chapbook is an experimental long poem that makes use of the page as a canvas, followed by more traditional lineated poems in the same setting and voices. The first reader of this manuscript said “F***ing great!” This accurately reflects our feelings about The Winchester Monologues. Yours too, we hope.”  – New Michigan Press

“Her careful negotiation of American mythology, especially the archetypal gun, marks the beauty of Rachel Moritz’s chapbook.” – J’Lyn Chapman


Anthologies