Requeening: Poems (Paperback)
A collection of poetry from the 2020 winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Ocean Vuong
Engaging the matriarchal structure of the beehive, Amanda Moore explores the various roles a woman plays in the family, the home, and the world at large. Beyond the productivity and excess, the sweetness and sting, Requeening brings together poems of motherhood and daughterhood, an evolving relationship of care and tending, responsibility and joy, dependence and deep love.
The poems that anchor this collection don’t shy away from the inevitability of a hive’s collapse and consider the succession of “requeening” a hive as “a new heart ready to be fed and broken and fed again.” The collapse is both physical—there are poems of illness and recovery—and emotional, as the mother-daughter relationship shifts, the daughter becoming separate, whole, and poised to displace. The liminal spaces these poems traverse in human relationships is echoed in a range of poetic and hybrid form, offering freedom and stricture as they contemplate the way we hold one another in love and grief.
Requeening is a vivid and surprising collection of poems from a winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition.
Amanda Moore is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets, ZYZZYVA, and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting. She teaches high school English and lives by the ocean in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.
— O, the Oprah Magazine
"Pinpointing pivotal moments, Moore looks at the love and anger between mother and daughter, as well as the way the daughter replaces the mother as the one who brings new life into the family. These highly descriptive poems evoke a dreamlike state, one that is quick-moving and evocative, temporarily erasing actual and imagined boundaries."
— Library Journal
“A rare feat for any book of poems, let alone a debut, in that the lines, wrought with such deft precision and care, mark the sum total of a life richly lived and felt at the seat of poetry...These poems care, first and foremost, for what they write of and through, which is a much needed—yet increasingly rare—achievement.”
— Ocean Vuong
"In her outstanding debut collection, Requeening, Amanda Moore imaginatively parallels the life of a woman in her family with the life of the queen bee in the hive. These poems take us through the sleepless nights of early parenthood, drunk with joy, through illness and recovery, through grief and fierce love. Often these poems evince a hard-earned dark humor. Just as she receives a cancer diagnosis, she writes, My 9th graders file into our room/ and I am at the whim of divine irony/...just as I have to teach a lesson/ on Odysseus’ journey to the Underworld. Always her images are precise and vivid, her understanding cogent, as when she compares mourning to Monet’s paintings: haystack, haystack, haystack...which is to say/ they are like this grief.../all the same but for the light. And when Moore describes the sand an Aunt collected from all over the world in a poem that ends, what we kept/ and what we stole, this past/ we’ve made from pilfered dust, we feel she is speaking a truth about all of our lives."
— Ellen Bass, author of Indigo