The Ruined Walled Castle Garden

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Beginning with the forest wanderings of a mentally lost father in the twentieth century, and ending with Eve’s original choice of wisdom over obedience, THE RUINED WALLED CASTLE GARDEN’s lyrics are spoken by or about actual historical figures such as Lizzie Borden, Emma Mille, Nikola Tesla, Virginia Woolf, and by unidentified representative contemporaries who work in a factory or model for an art class, visit Doha or Baghdad, weed a Scottish garden, walk beneath a New York winter sky. The poems interrogate faith, justice, militarism, madness, and the endless relation between two sexes.

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Beginning with the forest wanderings of a mentally lost father in the twentieth century, and ending with Eve’s original choice of wisdom over obedience, THE RUINED WALLED CASTLE GARDEN’s lyrics are spoken by or about actual historical figures such as Lizzie Borden, Emma Mille, Nikola Tesla, Virginia Woolf, and by unidentified representative contemporaries who work in a factory or model for an art class, visit Doha or Baghdad, weed a Scottish garden, walk beneath a New York winter sky. The poems interrogate faith, justice, militarism, madness, and the endless relation between two sexes

“Like the apothecarist Keats, Mary Gilliland’s poetry wells up from the healing force of unheard melodies. Her tensile lyric and fluent narrative grasp the sweet otherness in life, which is ‘Eve’s radical helplessness’ to endure and bear intimate witness to both change and permanence. THE RUINED WALLED CASTLE GARDEN is a radiant testimony—and a triumph—of an unerring ear I deeply cherish.”—Ishion Hutchinson

“Mary Gilliland’s THE RUINED WALLED CASTLE GARDEN casts a sidelong glance at the human comedy in various times and places. Here a ‘stubbled saint’ stumbles into our contemporary world; the rush of life stops with a milennial ‘where-were-you party.’ Marked by compression, surprise, originality of language, a confident and eloquent voice cuts to the essential.”—Mary Crow

“By turns mystical and realist, Mary Gilliland’s intensely musical poems consider global apocalypse—’our course set for the destitute sunset’—but also celebrate the generative power of creativity. With preternatural empathy, she enters fascinating sensibilities—Virginia Woolf, Nikola Tesla—and sings ‘the troubled music’ of history. Gilliland’s sinewy, nuanced poems understand earth—and consciousness—as gardens that no walls or enchantments can protect. Her vision is profound, enduring.”—Alice Fulton