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Distributed for CavanKerry Press

Cracked Piano

Margo Taft Stever acutely observes and describes human society, past and present. From her compelling and beautiful descriptions of life inside a nineteenth-century private insane asylum to her colorful and often critical depiction of elements of contemporary society, her poems profoundly speak to us. They describe the delicate line between the certifiably insane and the irrationality of everyday life; they depict a society sometimes harsh and ugly, sometimes soft and loving, with stunning visual imagery. Stever speaks to us about our interactions with each other and with the natural world. Each segment tells its own story that captures us and makes us think.

6 x 9.25

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Grand Prize Honorable Mention

Eric Hoffer Awards

"Margo Taft Stever’s Cracked Piano is a collection of forty-two poems divided into five sections that offers glimpses into pain, aloneness, mental disorder, psychiatric treatment, remembrance, trauma, and invisible barriers, taking us on a mind-watching tour of the collection’s central figure: the poet’s great-grandfather, Peter Rawson Taft. Many poems toe the thin line of sanity and insanity, mining Peter’s experiences through following generations, childhood memories, and explorations of other devastating moments."

Another Chicago Magazine

"The sensibility in Cracked Piano shows a fractured and often frightening world with a speaker who yearns for a human existence that is less broken, not cracked like the piano in the title poem where one of the inmates is trying to 'extract harmonious discords out of a cracked piano.' This may as well be Stever’s own quest, to speak out of pain with some sort of hope for harmony."

Cider Press Review

Table of Contents

Idiot’s Guide to Counting • For Sale • Animal Crackers • The Worst Mother • Glimpse of an Infant Eating • Stepmother • Wind Innuendo • Foghorn • My Mother Is Dying • The Lunatic Ball • Something Wrong • Cracked Piano • Plank Walk • Causes of Mortification • No Occurrence of an Exciting Nature • Common Cases of Insanity • I have been my arm • Hudson Line • Missing Link • Valentine • Drought • Invisible Fence • Surfaces • Beulah Reid • Hand • The True Story of Eugene • Why So Many Poets Come from Ohio • Perimeter • Queen City • Quiet, with Trees • Strange Familiarities of Death • Van Gogh to His Mistress • Yellow Raincoat • Receiving the Ashes • Nothing’s Holding Up Nothing • Splitting Wood • Horse Fair • Raven’s Rock • Virgin Cult • Supermarket in Autumn • Devil’s Potato Patch • Bottomland • Notes • Acknowledgments

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