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MARGO BERDESHEVSKY was born in New York City in 1945 and was an actress. Her honors include 5 Pushcart Prize nominations & a "Special Mention" citation in 2008, The FC2 Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Award, The Poetry Society of America's Robert H. Winner Award (selected by Marie Ponsot), The Chelsea Poetry Award, places in The Pablo Neruda & Ann Stanford Awards (selected by Yusef Komunyakaa), among others. Her works are published in leading literary journals including The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, New Letters, Agni, and Poetry International. Her "Tsunami Notebook" of poems and photographs was made during and following a journey to Sumatra in Spring 2005 -- to work in a survivors' clinic in Aceh. A poetic novel, "Vagrant" and an illustrated collection of her short stories, "Beautiful Soon Enough," are next at the gate. Margo Berdeshevsky currently lives in Paris. 

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Margo Berdeshevsky

There is in Margo Berdeshevsky’s work a rare persistence of the lyric voice, used with a sense of ecstasy & grief almost religious in its evocations.  Absolutely modern & fearlessly romantic by turns, the poems circle the rich & threatened corners of the living planet & travel further into places marked by mythic & oneiric time. With the publication of But a Passage in Wilderness, Berdeshevsky emerges, fully empowered, as the maker of a new poetry that pushes voice & image toward creation of a world “barbaric, vast and wild” that Diderot once saw as marker of what all poetry must be.

 - Jerome Rothenberg

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[This first book] is an extraordinary mixture of emotional power and beauty. It's not like anything else I have read lately or in the past. So MUCH verbal beauty, out of the here-and-now, woven with an extraordinary openness to what is precisely NOT beautiful in human life, making that an intrinsic part of the poem's texture . . . at once quintessential poems of witness and poems with the eternal quality of the tale or fable: a truth co-existent with the truth of observation, intrinsic to the words and the perceptive, humane imagination that engendered them . . .

- Marilyn Hacker

What makes But a Passage in Wilderness a unity, a big book and a small cosmos, is the depth of feeling it conveys, abundant and interactive, embodied and sensual. The poems are unfailingly fluent with emotional understanding, accurately invoked. A faithful dailyness radiates her words, even in her most daring flights. “Mother-ground,” she says, “show me roots in your bare dirty kiss.” She has taken her store of our language to heart.

- Marie Ponsot