Ellipses

“In many of her poems, MacPherson conveys images and ideas, but leaves something unsaid, something important that lies behind the poem. Her ability to suggest, but not define, activates the reader’s imagination. Gradually, a deeper meaning emerges than what we might have originally gleaned. Discovering this trait, we recognize the poet’s skill and see the aptness of the title of her collection.”

– Carole Mertz for Arc Poetry Magazine

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Ellipses (Signature Editions, 2014)

The poems in Ellipses are extractions, explorations, and, finally, moments of alternate life experiences that are so often left to the gaps of historical record. Ellipses was inspired by a trinity of personal events: the birth of Andrea MacPherson’s daughter and the deaths of both of her grandmothers. After they died, MacPherson came to realize that she did not really know their stories, and would never be able to ask them. In Ellipses she reimagines familiar lore to recreate the lives of these two extraordinary women. This exploration leads to other marginalized voices in history — including Suzanne Valadon and the models who posed for Bellocq — and their stories. Ellipses reclaims the often obscured realities of motherhood, illness, and the struggles of these women for independence in verse.

Such heart-rending poems about womanhood, motherhood, and personal histories that shape our families. The poet delves into her grandmothers’ pasts, recounting their loves and hardships or imagining how certain events unfolded. MacPherson’s language is simple, every word well-chosen.

Carole Besharah

Goodreads review

I was captivated several pieces in Ellipses, notably shadowlands for the poems about the greats (Plath and Christie), and the last section for the author’s daughter. It’s evocative and rich, both happy and sad at the same time.

Missy Spady

Goodreads review