Our Purpose in Speaking cover
Our Purpose in Speaking
In this debut poetry collection by an award-winning fiction writer, the longing for God and the poignancy of family life echo each other’s music. The traditional forms of sonnet, sestina, and villanelle punctuate more modern verse forms, this combination being only one of the strands binding past and present. Many of these poems may be read as confessions—of joy, of hurtfulness given or received, of awe at the inescapable reality of love. This volume comprises spiritual writing that remains firmly of this world, part apostasy, part song, reaching out for meaning from both the shifting landscape of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and the interior places of the heart.
Subjects: Poetry
Publication Date: August 1st, 2018
96 pages| 6 in x 9 in
WILLIAM OREM is a Senior Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.  

Early Praise

“Ford Madox Ford, who said, ‘Poetry must be at least as well written as prose,’ would be greatly pleased that prize-winning fiction writer William Orem (Zombi, You My Love; Across the River; and Killer of Crying Deer) has now written Our Purpose in Speaking, as accomplished as any first book of poems in years. Several are quite moving love poems, though the poem ‘Sonnet: Lust’ is a deliciously gustatory address. ‘Sonnet: The Dream Undoes Its Exposition’ is one of the finest sonnets I’ve read in many years. The opening poem, ‘Sonnet: My Mother Refuses Mastectomy,’ mentions in passing that ‘one never fully leaves the Catholic dream,’ which explains why the religion’s rituals, architecture, and sense of worship often assist Orem in writing poems that show brave praise and compassion to a struggling world. Buy this book.”
Roger Mitchell, author of Lemon Peeled the Moment Before: New and Selected Poems, 1967–2008

“William Orem’s poems are tender, brave, and searching. Ranging widely in form and tone, the poems explore the landscape of relationship and loss in language that is emotionally compelling and spiritually rigorous. There is no answer in these poems, but there is hope—the hope of looking closely, without flinching, the hope in the questioning itself.”
Wendy Mnookin, author of Dinner with Emerson

“The passionate, meditative lyrics in William Orem’s Our Purpose in Speaking gracefully weld together the intensity of confession within elegantly rendered lines and forms—seemingly suggesting that the vulnerabilities of the body and the traumas of the psyche can be understood, celebrated, and canonized through the beatitudes of art. Here, wounded creatures and terminally ill parents in a troubled family are balanced against the ecstasies of adult love and the glorious, inevitable rhythms of the Chesapeake. These are gorgeously wrought poems that speak, mourn, cry out, and sing.”
Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of Dandarians: Poems


Book AwardWheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize, Emerging poet
$15.95 USD
ISBN: 9781611862904

$12.75 USD
ISBN: 9781609175719

$12.75 USD
ISBN: 9781628953374

$12.75 USD
ISBN: 9781628963373

Add to Cart