Museum of Everyday Life

Museum of Everyday Life is a place where you come to understand how life began when “fingers begat feathers” and it ends when you, dear reader, “you sit in your chair, / soon empty, and nod.” Read in this book such poems as “That Summer of Hurricanes” with its scene of a man collapsing on the road in the midst of everyday life, where “under the generator hum of evening we turn up our noses” – read it and you will see the music of what happens, as Seamus Heaney called it once. Read this book and you will know that each true poet is a child who sees the world anew and fresh—“she is seven years old, maybe eight. // X hears her speak words / she can yet know.” This is each of us, lost, stumbling in time, in our bodies, trying to speak words we don’t know or understand. And, when we do understand—as Michele Randall does in this wonderful book— and “the sound shatters like cubes of clear ice” – and the music opens – that music of “the nightyears that tasted of ash, and dust, and pepper seeds.” This is a beautiful debut.
—Ilya Kaminsky

In Michele Randall’s poems, everyday life is generously conceived to include laundry, morning laughter, song, the psychiatric ward, and matters of flesh and spirit. The imagery is fresh and the phrasing thoughtfully turned. What a splendid first book. —Carol Frost

Michele Randall’s unflinching narratives kick open the door we close on so much of our lives—the bland and banal, the tragic, the triumphant, the miraculous and mundane—and push us up close, where we have no choice but to look. These poems can’t be turned away from—they represent those snippets of life that frighten and sustain us. They know what we crave.
—Patricia K. Smith

Museum of Everyday Life brims over with souvenirs and talismans, with wooden buttons and shoelaces and Nehi bottles and pepper seeds, an incantatory celebration of Richard Wilbur’s “things of this world.” But it is the audible silence of these poems that startles and surprises, the liminal moments in which the less visible presence is recorded, in which “We unspool time,” in which we “Breath in to focus; breath out to conceal.” This is an enthralling collection of poems, both rapturous and reverent. —James Harms

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