Begin with Trouble
Poems Inspired by the 1727 New-England Primer
Volume XII of the Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series.
In addition to Begin With Trouble, Martha Carlson-Bradley is the author of several collections of poetry: Sea Called Fruitfulness (WordTech Editions, 2013), If I Take You Here (Adastra Press, 2011), Season We Can’t Resist (WordTech Editions, 2007), Beast at the Hearth (Adastra Press, 2005), and Nest Full of Cries (Adastra Press, 2000). Her poems have been published in many literary magazines, including New England Review, Valparaiso Review, Carolina Quarterly, Beloit Poetry Journal, the LA Review, and Zone 3, and in anthologies, such as The Poets’ Grimm (Story Line Press, 2003). Her awards include the Robert and Charlotte Baron Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, a grant-in-aid from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, and the Gretchen Warren Award from the New England Poetry Club.
Previously director of publications at the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Carlson-Bradley works as administrative assistant at Union Congregational Church, UCC, in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and is also a freelance editor.
"Inspired by the small book the New-England Primer of 1727, Martha Carlson-Bradley brings to life the world of the New England Puritans, a world where a stern God chooses the elect and is to be adored and feared, where obedience to that God is paramount for he 'reckons your worth,' where 'cruel death is always near' and work is highly valued. I love these precise, intelligent, compassionate poems for their perfect blend of history, scholarship, imagination, and poetry. And especially for their portrayal of the primer itself, its woodcuts, its pages, and for the power of the voices that speak from the poems. This is a book to be read slowly and savored and then read again." —Patricia Fargnoli
"Begin with Trouble is in essence a letterpress book, which through its very making both tells and reverses its story—that of the Fall, of dominion and divide, of 'the down low and the / up high' as embodied by the lessons of 1727 New-England Primer. Martha Carlson Bradley brings to the fore, with her own sharp-edged lines, the mortality of all humanly formulated mandates that arise from the great transpersonal stories. This is a book for our time in which, like then, perhaps like always, deep and life-giving truths are refused and in their place, 'ink, uneven, creates / odd wraiths that writhe / through a group of children’s faces.' It invites us to imagine an otherwise, to give the children of the world another story to live by. In Begin with Trouble Martha Carlson Bradley has given us the kind of book on which our lives depend." —Diane Gilliam
100 pp, Paperback
Publication Date: September, 2017