Marjorie Maddox’s capacious poetry

She can (and will) do anything with this English language she so clearly loves.

Marjorie Maddox’s impressive new poetry collection suggests by its title that the reader is embarking on a journey. Maddox, who has produced 13 books of luminous poetry and teaches at Lock Haven University, has earned her credentials as an experienced guide. “Begin with a question” is a writing prompt; it is also, as we come to discover, a prompt applicable to living a life of faith.

The title poem is a sestina that begins—obediently? rebelliously?—with the most challenging of questions:

But why? By dawn, the day already
brims with answers: Yes, you may question
the universe; no, God will not answer;
yes, a double negative could mean maybe
this strange world cowers inside another Yes—
or not. What a knot of not-knowing creates our No’s.