The Still Position
a verse memoir of my mother's death

by Barbara Blatner

120 Pages, 5½ x 8½

Library of Congress Control Number:  2010927577

ISBN:  978-1-935520-23-8

Publication Date:  09/14/2010

Press Release

Cover Art:  Snowy Field, 36 x 46 inches, charcoal on paper
by Katherine Meyer, 1999.


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The Still Position chronicles the last days of life of the poet's difficult but cherished mother. Set in upstate New York among deer and hawks under a stone-scarred mountain, these poems reveal the death of the body and the heart's passage through loss and grief, anger and confusion, forgiveness and devotion. These poems are very up-close, chiseled, and go against sentimentality by staying with details and particulars. Although the end is known from the beginning, readers will be affected by such an honest and suspenseful journey.


Who is to say where the boundary is drawn between the living and the dead? These poems speak to the beloved as if she can finally hear them. Is this what poetry can do—stand at the intersection of time and eternity? Here, at The Still Position, is where we find the poet Barbara Blatner—singing. These poems are a sorrow and a sweetness&mdashtogether they make a symphony anyone who is mortal will be touched by.

—Marie Howe
Author of What the Living Do and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time

These are straight-forward and arresting poems, both bold and alluring. I admire them a great deal both for what they dare to attempt and for what they succeed in accomplishing.

—Jane Smiley
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Barbara Blatner's powerful poetry captures all the emotions and reactions associated with death, loss, and grief. Readers will be touched by her reflections, validated by her sharing, and offered hope that love can transform the most difficult moments.

—Kenneth J. Doka
Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America

To tell the truth about the body—especially the body on its way to dying—as Virginia Woolf said, is the most difficult imaginative task any writer can take on. The Still Position treats the death of the poet's mother unflinchingly, but with ceremony and grace. Not since Mark Doty's work about his lover Wally's death has there been another poem cycle that examines the stages of dying with such fierce love.

—Louise DeSalvo
Author of Writing as a Way of Healing