Imagistic, painterly, ironic, humorous, intelligent, satirical—these are a few words that come to mind on reading Jacqueline Marcus’ Summer Rains. Without being sentimental or didactic, Marcus reminds us of what it means to have a moral conscience. A pervasive awareness of the damage caused by corporate greed, global warming, exploitation, and the disappearance of the natural world shape the landscape of these poems.
The job of any good poet is to recognize the hype and the jive and to expose it—but not just to merely pull back the curtain on the great and powerful, but then to suggest a better course, a more reasonable, yet passionate alternative. I love the play on words like “the error of our waste”. Anyone who knows Jacqueline Marcus already knows she does exactly this, but those of you who don’t are in for a real treat, one that will intellectually and fervently challenge you to reexamine what you have accepted to be normal and “okay” in this world and hopefully make you wish to fight for a better way. Summer Rains is an excellent and, yes, an enjoyable example of the poet as witness, philosopher, oracle and eulogizer to all we consider sacred and profane.
—J.P. Dancing Bear,
In her second collection of poems, Jacqueline Marcus continues to embrace a faith in the natural world that is worth saving and “remembering” in the Platonic sense of that word, “where pines impress their branches / against a plum-colored sky… blue, blue, in itself, upon a sea of winter.” Like the Greeks and British Romantics, Marcus expresses the view that Beauty and Justice are two sides of the same coin, if we could only take a moment to see “the waves rushing in like a warning, / a proof to the living and the dead.” In these perilous times of global warming, endless wars and the erosion of our civil liberties, Marcus is politically brazen but not at the expense of her poetic vision, the luminous imagery and lyrical eloquence that form the signature voice of her poems.
Jacqueline Marcus fearlessly writes poetry that reflects her diversity of passions and interests. Whether evoking nature, love, global warming, philosophy or poetry itself, she deftly uses images and observation to unfold poems of both urgency and serenity.
In our lifetimes, something once unexpected has been added to the Romantic imagination: the awareness of a vastly endangered earth. Jacqueline Marcus writes from the intersection of nature’s centrality in our lives and the knowledge that we have been the agents of its diminishment. She reveals, in poem after poem, the impact that has on our spiritual awareness. And yet throughout, beauty and the poignancy of life are deeply reaffirmed. This is a beautiful book that faces facts while never abandoning “this imperishable light, this landscape.”