Hamline News

MFA Alum Book Release: Gretchen Marquette


Marquette’s MFA ’12 debut poetry collection, May Day, is being released May 3 by Graywolf Press. Marquette is also an adjunct faculty member the Creative Writing Programs at Hamline.

May Day
by Gretchen Marquette
Published by Graywolf Press 
Release May 3, 2016 
Poetry, 96 pages 
Order the book: Graywolf Press


Gretchen Marquette’s (MFA ’12 & adjunct CWP faculty) debut poetry collection, May Day, is being released May 3rd by Graywolf Press. “An emotionally resonant debut collection by an extraordinary new poet.” 

May Day is both a distress call and a celebration of the arrival of spring. In this rich and unusually assured first collection, the poet Gretchen Marquette writes of the losses of a brother gone off to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a great love that has left the world charged with absence and grief. But there is also the wonder of the natural world: the deer at the edge of the forest, the dog reliably coaxing the poet beyond herself and into the city park where by tradition every May Day is pageantry, a festival of surviving the long winter. “What does it mean to be in love?” one poem asks. “As it turns out, / the second best thing that can happen to you / is a broken heart.” May Day introduces readers to a new poet of depth and power.



"Startlingly original. . . . Marquette's beautiful and macabre images have the feel of a classic fairy tale. She writes urgent poems, driven by a rapacious desire for love, despite a fear that “is alive and breathes in me and turns / three times attempting to lie down"."
—Star Tribune

“Lovely, dark, haunted, and haunting... [Marquette’s] subjects—childhood memories of a brother and bracing visions of him on military deployment overseas; hungering, fragile love; the very nature of human experience—are so carefully handled, with such resolve and resignation…. Readers will remember this book.”
—Publishers Weekly 

“Following her brother’s deployment and redeployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, May Day couples verses on absence with the presence of nature and the poetics to be found in everyday life.”
—Gear Patrol  

“In Gretchen Marquette’s May Day, the poet shows us how our own daily tasks, our movements through time and space, as well as our relationship with the things of the world, become the true sources of poetry. Marquette meditates on the nature of love, but also on the nature of being alive in a world she wants to touch and contain and know in the deepest sense of that word. May Day is a book of great delicacy of observation and noticing, but one that interrogates feeling with rigor, intelligence, and a radiant imagination.”
—Mark Wunderlich



Gretchen will read from her new poetry collection, May Day. This event is presented by Graywolf Press and Magers & Quinn.

Free and open to the public. 
Saturday May 7th at 7 pm  

At Uptown Church; Facebook Event can be found here.



Gretchen Marquette has published poems in Harper's Magazine, The Paris Review, and Tin House. A 2014 recipient of a Minnesota Emerging Writer Grant through the Loft Literary Center, she has served as the assistant poetry editor for Water~Stone Review, and as a first reader for the National Poetry Series. She lives and teaches in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is adjunct faculty at Hamline for the CWP. Visit Gretchen’s faculty page here

For a taste of Gretchen’s poetry, read the following selections in Midway Journal, TriQuarterly Review, Sleet Magazine, and at the Poetry Foundation.