Manning, Maurice 1966-
Manning, Maurice 1966-
Manning, Maurice 1966-
Born April 6, 1966, in Lexington, KY. Education: Earlham College, B.A., 1988; University of Kentucky, M.A., 1996; University of Alabama, M.F.A., 1999. Politics: Independent. Religion: Protestant.
Home—Bloomington, IN; Danville, KY. Office—Creative Writing Program, English Dept., Indiana University, Ballantine Hall 442, 1020 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405-7103.
Poet, writer, and educator. De Pauw University, Greencastle, IN, assistant professor of English; Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, faculty member in M.F.A. Program, 2004—.
Academy of American Poets.
Provincetown, MA, Fine Arts Work Center fellowship; Yale Younger Poets Series honor, 2000, for Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions.
A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Long Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2004.
Bucolics: Poems, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.
Contributor of poetry to periodicals, including Green Mountains Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Sonora Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Washington Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Wind, and New Yorker.
Maurice Manning was born and raised in Kentucky and often writes about the land and culture of his home. He has written since childhood and was inspired by his two grandmothers, three great grandmothers, and one great-great grandmother to remember and tell stories. He told Brandon Sokol on TheDePauw.com Web site: "My older relatives kept the past alive for me by telling stories, particularly my grandmothers." Although he was always interested in writing, he did not consider pursuing it as a career until he was almost done with his undergraduate degree. "The whole concept of art is hard to see as a practical venture; it doesn't make money."
Manning's poetry has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Sonora Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and New Yorker as well as in the collection Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions. He has held a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachussetts, and is a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition.
In a review of Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions, which received the Yale award, Webdelsol Web site contributor Gunnar Benediktsson described the collection as "fascinating" and noted that "the book is at the very least a miracle of structure." He also wrote: "The language is rich and densely flavorful, and Manning's work will recommend itself highly to those readers who are interested in experiments with the lyric form."
Manning's next book of poetry, A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Long Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c, was called a "masterful interpretation of the quintessential American pioneer" by Booklist contributor Ray Olson. The narrative poems are written as a journal in verse in the voice of the noted frontiersman Daniel Boone. Although the author writes of Boone's adventures, he also uses Boone as a voice of philosophical musings and, as noted by Rambles Web site contributor Robert M. Tilendis, "the voice of someone who was, in all our legendry, the embodiment of the natural man, the archetype in American mythology of the frontiersman." As for the historical events depicted through the poems, the author includes an extensive collection of notes associated with these events. In his review of A Companion for Owls, Tilendis noted: "These are not poems that are necessarily easy (indeed, they are often quite discomforting), nor are they particularly cheerful (although sometimes wickedly, mordantly humorous) but they are extraordinarily rich, not only in the idea of the life of Daniel Boone but in their reflections on what life is really about, or perhaps what it should really be about."
Manning's third collection of poems titled Bucolics: Poems are pastoral poems praising nature. However, the author also provides a change of pace in that the poems include a conversation with the deity the speaker calls "Boss." While the speaker ponders and wonders, Boss never answers his ruminations or questions, such as "if I / could find the little ladder Boss / that's leaning straight against the sky / how many rungs would I have to climb" or "are you ever sorry Boss ever / have a problem ever get / shamefaced stuff your hands." Referring to the poems as "haunting and funny, innovative and heartening," a contributor to the Isak Web site remarked: "Funny little rhythms and syntactical recurrance tell big stories. I haven't read anything like this before." Ray Olson wrote in Booklist that Bucolics is "a book that may come to be ranked with the Psalms and Blake's Songs of Innocence."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Manning, Maurice, Bucolics: Poems, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.
American Book Review, July 1, 2005, Craig Morgan Teicher, "Discovering Salt," review of A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Long Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c, p. 28.
Booklist, September 1, 2004, Ray Olson, review of A Companion for Owls, p. 40; March 15, 2007, Ray Olson, review of Bucolics: Poems, p. 16.
Library Journal, November 15, 2001, review of Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions, p. 71.
New York Times Book Review, August 19, 2001, Dwight Garner, review of Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions, p. 17.
Poetry, July, 2001, "Maurice Manning from Danville, Kentucky, Is the New Yale Younger Poet," p. 241; May, 2002, John Taylor, review of Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions, p. 99.
Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2001, review of Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions, p. 70; March 19, 2007, review of Bucolics, p. 43.
Academy of American Poets Web site,http://www.poets.org/ (July 24, 2002).
Harcourt Books,http://www.harcourtbooks.com/ (December 14, 2007), brief profile of author.
Indiana University,http://www.indiana.edu/ (December 14, 2007), faculty profile of author.
Isak,http://isak.typepad.com/ (November 5, 2007), review of Bucolics.
Rambles,http://www.rambles.net/ (January 29, 2005), Robert M. Tilendis, review of A Companion for Owls.
Sycamore Review,http://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/engl/sycamore/sr/ (December 14, 2007), Bryan Penberthy and Anne Zimmerman, "Quantum Cowboys and Honky Tonk Heroes: A Conversation with Maurice Manning."
TheDePauw.com,http://www.thedepauw.com/ (October 20, 2000), Brandon Sokol, "Manning Wins Poetry Award."
Webdelsol.com,http://www.webdelsol.com/ (July 24, 2002), Gunnar Benediktsson, review of Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions.