The poems in this collection are sculpted like carnallite crystals and come together as elegiac meditations, drawing on history, and on mythology. Beauty and pathos are wound in a tangle of exile, and find a home. Offering free verse, prose poems, haibun and haiku. Ilona Martonfi uses her poetry to build on her activism as a tool for achieving goals, taking a stand. The book's five sections are composed of poetry of witness, ekphrastic poems, resistance poems, erasure poems, dream poems, persona poems, elegies.
About the author
Ilona Martonfi is a Montreal poet born in Budapest. She is a writer, editor, creative writing teacher, and founder of the writing group, Rue Towers Writers. She is the author of the poetry books, Blue Poppy (2009), Black Grass (2012), The Snow Kimono (2015), and Salt Bride (2019), as well as seven chapbooks, Visiting the Ridge, Charivari, Magda, Adagio, Mud, Moth and Black Rain. Ilona is Founder and Literary Curator of The Yellow Door and Visual Arts Centre Reading Series and Argo Bookshop's Reading Series. She is a recipient of the QWF 2010 Community Award. Ilona has published extensively in print and online literary publications. She was a Finalist for the 2007 Quebec Writing Competition. Her story, "My Daughter, Marisa," was published in CBC Story Anthology III, In Other Words: New English Writing from Quebec (2008), and Ilona's "Stories of Belonging" was shortlisted for Canada Writes in the adult category (2014). She was also a StepAway Magazine nominee for the 2018 Pushcart Prize for the poem "Dachau Visit on a Rainy Day". The Tempest is her fifth poetry collection.
"Ilona Martonfi's latest poetry collection, Salt Bride, is a self-assured tour de force of the world's tragedies, disasters and atrocities. Using a flattening-out-of-history technique, where the past marches in step with the present, Martonfi brings these events up close and personal in poems that taste lived. These are telegram-postcards, staccato darts from the heart of darkness, scenes of domesticity that suddenly burst into explosive imagery."
--Michael Mirolla, novelist, short story writer, poet and playwright
"In Salt Bride, Ilona Martonfi's poetry searches for justice. From deep, introspective locations, her words bring the reader close to what it means to suffer, to love, and to come to terms with loss. A skilled traveler in both inner and outer worlds, Martonfi speaks to us about the real, sometimes tragic, complexities of life."
-- Eleni Zisimatos, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Vallum Magazine
"In Salt Bride, Ilona Martonfi listens "to the pain beneath the skin of the streets," giving voice to "[t]he marginal and the maimed. That which is cast out". In the book's five sections, Martonfi ranges throughout history and far-flung places, to give voice to or lament the dead--from the female victims sacrificed in bogs to appease pagan gods and goddesses, to victims of disasters, crimes, exile, and war, including three-year-old Syrian refugee and drowning victim Alan Kurdhi. In paying attention to "[s]craps, threads of memories," Martonfi endeavours to counter "the crude amnesia" that allows history to repeat. The collection includes lyric poems, voice poems (stark dramatic monologues) and prose poems, often staccato in rhythm and spare in style, but stippled with luminous images: "small lilac skies // across iris bogs / willow catkins." In Salt Bride we encounter a poetry of sorrow and solace."
--Susan Elmslie, author of I, Nadja, and other Poems (Brick, 2006.)
"Ilona Martonfi's Salt Bride is a book of beautifully crafted poems of grief and loss, elegies of silent struggle, giving voice to human experience before it slips into oblivion. Finely etched images of the urban and natural worlds frame each one with a subtle, ironic, yet compassionate resonance and reflection."
--Hugh Hazelton, poet and translator, recipient of the 2006 Governor General's award for French-English translation of Joël Des Rosiers' Vétiver
"Ilona Martonfi's Salt Bride is a wide-ranging lyrical collection, the poet's fourth. Some sixty or so poems give voice to a wide range of carefully chosen events near and distant. There are those which rush like rivers, while others saunter under small lilac skies. Each delicate composition reverberates with intense feeling, vivid language, beauty."
--Karen Ocaña, Literary translator and writer