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Poetry Women Authors

The Tempest

by (author) Ilona Martonfi

Inanna Publications & Education Inc.
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Women Authors, Canadian, Death
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

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Bearing witness to truth, The Tempest is invested in poetry that attempts to reveal human pain through the art of words. Each poem is powerful, but the book's strength emerges from its collective voice: different political conflicts, cultures, genders, ages, races-one shared human narrative. As we follow these survivors into their past and present lives we learn that poetry was the gift that restored.

The book's wanderings in and out of forms-erasure poetry, free verse, prose poetry, haiku, tanka, haibun-signal its approach to some important preoccupations. The collection includes tales of love and rage-from displacement and homecoming, Budapest and its lilac hills above the Danube, where bombs fall, where at a train station cattle wagons wait for Jews to be deported to Auschwitz, where her family lives in Pirka, a Bavarian war refugee settlement- to immigrating to Montreal's ice and snow, founding a family, fleeing an abusive marriage, and becoming an activist and taking a stand against domestic violence.

Like the figure she describes in her ekphrastic poem "Clotho" as "Ensnared in long tentacles of hair, skeletal, toothless, chiseled in white marble..." Martonfi's The Tempest has hewn her own spare lines to recast her book's obsession with the politics, violences, and musics of the oral.

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 profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Ambitious in ideas and form, the rhythm of Ilona Martonfi's poetry shifts effortlessly between the soothing hum of the natural world and the energetic buzz of urban life. Hers is a powerfully original voice that keenly examines animal and human worlds, capturing their beauty and tragedy in equal measure. I was utterly captivated by this new collection."
-Darren Richard Carlaw, Editor, StepAway Magazine

"Ilona Martonfi's poems in The Tempest are exquisitely crafted. Frequently, in constellations of images without verbs, her poems keenly reflect the human condition. They are a visual delight but inevitably they incite the reader to contemplate the vexing issues of human complexity, vulnerability and cruelty."
-H. Nigel Thomas, award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and essays

"The poems in The Tempest resonate with the haunting images of wreckage and the space on the page that allows breath and that which would push through; persist. A pear tree, bog cranberries, all signs of life amid amnesia, and devastated landscapes. Concise and dense. Elegiac and sombre; the poems capture the intricate voices of their resolute speakers, and rather than complain they "would go and gather stars". A beautiful collection of snapshots into the aftermath and the life that there remains despite everything."
-Larissa Andrusyshyn, author of the two poetry collections Mammoth and Proof

"Nagasaki, Dachau, Chernobyl: Ilona Martonfi testifies to both terrible events in history as well as various moments in her past, such as her childhood after World War II, her sister's and brother's deaths, her travels in other countries. In this moving collection of poetry, love and hope stand up to pain and desolation. The threads of memory weaved in The Tempest reach us deeply with their intelligence and their sensibility."
-Louise Dupré, poet and novelist

"Words can be weapons, and Ilona Martonfi's The Tempest isn't afraid to wield them with a delicate and certain hand. It is difficult to put into words, the power of her work though I often find myself needing to take a long breath after each poem. The words resonant innate truths through the lens of other, mysterious worlds. And yet they're more than that. Martonfi's poetry reaches out of the page and demands the reader bear witness to the void, the sublime darkness. Deep trauma is interwoven with seemingly small and domestic moments in time and history that speak to the emotional landscape that underlies reality and the essence of the human experience."
-Simone Pitot, singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer

Other titles by Ilona Martonfi