Fred Marchant

Olive Harvest by Fred Marchant


It’s true, the tree has the scent of the sea,

but the silver leaves, their slender fingers,

the thick, infinitely twined trunk, some riddle

in the roots that lets it drink from the stones,

even the place where a limb has broken or

been lopped off, the shoot that springs back

to life, stumps that burn for hour upon hour,

a scattered discard twig you press to your lips,

and the fruit that hangs from young branches

and old, a green reddening to black, this fruit

ripened on enough bloodshed and hardened

human behavior to make you think it will turn

away in disgust, year after suffering year

comes back, as if to say here & here & here

from Said, Not Said (Graywolf Press, 2017)

Fred Marchant’s new collection of poetry, Said Not Said, was published by Graywolf Press in May 2017. Afaa Michael Weaver has written that this poetry takes us to the “interior of hope,” and Mary Szybist has written that she loves the generosity in these poems, “a generosity that carries us through every heartbreak.” The Looking House (Graywolf Press, 2009), was named by Barnes and Noble Review and the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best books of poetry in 2009. He is also the author of Tipping Point, winner of the 1993 Washington Prize, that book was recently reissued in a 20th anniversary second edition. His earlier books include Full Moon Boat (Graywolf Press, 2000). and House on Water, House in Air (Dedalus Press, Dublin, Ireland, 2002).  Fred Marchant is also the co-translator (with Nguyen Ba Chung) of From a Corner of My Yard, by Tran Dang Khoa, and Con Dau Prison Songs by Vo Que, both published in Hanoi.  Editor of Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947 (Graywolf Press, 2008), Marchant is an emeritus professor of English at Suffolk University, and founding director of the Poetry Center at Suffolk. He is a longtime teaching affiliate of The William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and teaches poetry workshops across the country. He is the 2009 co-winner of the New England Poetry Club’s May Sarton Award, given to poets whose work “is an inspiration to other writers.”