Marjorie Welish: The Windows Flew Open


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The prose sentence stands as the unseen authority behind these poems. But the poems acknowledge this norm by transgressing its linguistic conventions with knowing precision. Leaps in logic, sudden changes of topic mid-sentence, complex and dense syntax yielding to a simple phrase, all these characterize Welish’s forays into meaning and feeling.

Marjorie Welish is the author of Casting Sequences ( U of GA Press) and The Annotated Here (Coffee House). She is also a painter and art critic and lives in New York City.

“The verbal address of these poems is highly rhetorical, though interspersed with restless imaging and competing versions of reality. Syntactic playfulness characterizes much of the book. There is at once a deliberative aural multiplicity and a continual transformation of images and grammatical structure.”

–Adam Crag Hill, American Book Review

“A rigor that consists in egoless attentiveness to the workings of sheer pleasure, with all the melancholy that that entails–and all the god-like fun… The style is like a dance step attempted in weak gravity, reeling out of control–but the dancer remembers to look graceful. Welish is a true daredevil. She performs without the net of any appeal to the reader’s complicity. By skill and daring she ears every style turn, every nuance.”


“Marjorie Welish with her astonishing arrays of meaning, her lyric agility in response to variations on poetic experience, adds a rare substance to the tortuous surface of Modernism.”

–Barbara Guest

The Windows Flew Open is a collection long anticipated and now beautifully realized. It explores the inner landscapes of psyche and dream, but also the surface tensions and contradictory currents of the world before us. If, adrift on this flow or flaw, we are actually to go somewhere, as I think we must, then here are the words of the speaking boat, whose sail is a tongue.”

–Michael Palmer