BkMk Press Books

Sweet Herbaceous Miracle


by Berwyn Moore

Price: $13.95, 82 pages

ISBN: 9781943491162, 2018

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Winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by Enid Shomer

Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily


Sweet Herbaceous Miracle is absolutely gorgeous writing. Attentive language, rich, provocative scenes with painterly light shining through . . . Berwyn Moore’s book takes the breath away.
    —Naomi Shihab Nye

Elizabethan elegance, light, and fire-crack pervade this terrific collection. In sizzling couplets and delicious sonnets, Berwyn Moore is ever the melodist—and ever more the skeptical interrogator (of the body, of love, of angels not us). “Now you have scratched into my dreams,” says the speaker to the rat, and now these poems have scratched into mine. Who could want more from a book of poems?
    —Alan Michael Parker

A subtle alchemy infuses Berwyn Moore’s Sweet Herbaceous Miracle. Under the spell of her lexicon, a vagrant woman transforms into an angel, wasp bites become stigmata, and a cardboard box turns into a mysterious, sacred dwelling. Her Blakean visions are bound to beguile and leave the reader craving for more.
    —Megan Sexton

The ghost of Dickinson haunts these delicate meditations on love and death and transience. They arrive like good news, like spring flowers from the garden. And I can hardly think of a poet, especially in our plain-speak, laconic times, who better reminds us of the sheer lusciousness, the rich organic resources, of the English language. Reading these poems by Berwyn Moore is to fall in love all over again with your own tongue.
    —George Bilgere

Sweet Herbaceous Miracle, Berwyn Moore’s third collection of poetry, is a lush, compelling book that celebrates the profligate complexities of the human condition and the natural world—through subjects as wide-ranging as rats, artichokes, cancer, and marital discord. Moore’s sumptuous linguistic gifts, observant eye and deftly wielded ironic sensibility are at work in full force here, teasing out the confounding but also rewarding. Hers is a voice that surprises and gratifies at every turn.
    —Beth Gylys

Read Grace Cavalieri's review in Washington Independent Review of Books


Read the review in San Francisco Book Review.



Berwyn Moore is the author of two previous poetry collections, O Body Swayed and Dissolution of Ghosts. As the inaugural Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania, she edited the anthology, Dwelling in Possibility: Voices of Erie County.

Her poetry has appeared in such journals as The Southern Review, Shenandoah, and JAMA, and she has won awards from Bellevue Literary Review, The Pinch, Margie, Nimrod, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, New Millennium, Briar Cliff Review, Negative Capability Press, and Five Points.

She has worked as a reporter, a freelance writer, and a respiratory therapist. Currently professor of English at Gannon University, she lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Robert.

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