Naming the Scars by Marty Silverthorne
Available from the publisher
Winner of the 2017 Longleaf Press Poetry Chapbook Competition
"For a few decades, I’ve been reading with immense admiration Marty Silverthorne’s poems, yet nothing could’ve prepared me for the harrowingly beautiful and outlandishly courageous poems in his new work, Naming the Scars. In poem after poem, Silverthorne—through sheer bravado, wrought with iron, still white hot from the forge—gives voice to the ineffable. I’m not sure how he managed to pull these poems off—the jolting candor, the emotional voltage, the jackhammer beat. If I could, I’d stretch this epistle to include, in its entirety, 'Living Will,' the concluding spectacular poem of this searing volume. Let its final lines suffice: 'Burn the air / with my body, scatter me around / bellbottomed cypress, and river birch, / then suicide shift past the Slade Farm / where slave chains jingle under the chill / white light of the moon.' In Naming the Scars, Silverthorne brandishes his living will and his will to live. Lord, these are poems."
—Joseph Bathanti, NC Poet Laureate, 2012-2014
"Marty Silverthorne’s latest collection, Naming the Scars, is a visionary work of purity without sentimentality. His lines brim with a jagged, haunting music all his own:
Tomorrow we’ll wheel
into the valium-colored sun
to heal a season of sickness.
In a city of cement we sit
steel wheel to stilled wheel ...
"Silverthorne is a revered poet here in North Carolina, and his stunning work—especially these exquisite new poems—deserves a much wider audience."
"Naming the Scars by Marty Silverthorne is a powerful and disturbing book. 'Disturbing' is the right word. If you are not disturbed you haven’t read it. Silverthorne’s direct and forceful words, his unrelentingly honest images force us into a world that we would not know without his poems, a world both horrifying and blessed, horrifying because of the continuing illness, the quadriplegia the narrator must face, and blessed because of the extraordinary caregivers whose portraits Silverthorne paints so vividly, caregivers and family members who become healers. This book will stay with me for a long time."
—Anthony S. Abbott, author of The Angel Dialogues and recipient of NC Award for Literature
Naming the Scars is a poetic memoir reflecting over a life changed by a careless accident. It is the story of death and resurrection and all its beautiful traumas.
Marty Silverthorne earned degrees from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and East Carolina University. He is the author of seven chapbooks of poetry. His latest work, Naming the Scars, is the 2017 Longleaf Press Chapbook Award Winner. He has published in numerous journals and anthologies. Marty has received several NC Arts grants and an NC Arts Fellowship.