Marjory Heath Wentworth is Poet Laureate of South Carolina, and her poems have appeared in numerous books and magazines. Her books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, and What the Water Gives Me, a collaboration with artist Mary Edna Fraser. Her children’s story, Shackles, recently won a Silver Moonbeam Award, and she has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize four times. Marjory teaches poetry in “Expressions of Healing,” at Roper St. Francis Cancer Center. She also teaches in a poets-in-the-schools program at Burke High School in Charleston, SC.
Marjory serves on the Board of Directors for the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA), The Poetry Society of SC, the University of SC Poetry Initiative, and the Yo Art Project. Her work is included in the South Carolina Poetry Archives at Furman University. Ms. Wentworth also works as a book publicist.
Mary Edna Fraser uses aerial landscape photographs as the foundation for her artwork, often taken from the family’s vintage 1946 Ercoupe plane. Her pioneering contemporary monotypes and large-scale batiks (an ancient process using wax and dyes on cloth) have been collected and exhibited worldwide. Duke University Museum of Art, Gibbes Museum of Art, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum have featured her collaborations with scientist Orrin Pilkey as well as with Marjory Wentworth. Interpreting the beauty and change of the planet is a recurring theme in her artwork, which she hopes will act as a catalyst for preservation.
She resides in Charleston, SC with her husband John Sperry.
“Marjory Heath Wentworth is a poet of great geographical range, Cambodia, Gaza, and, most lovingly, the South Carolina low country, but the terrain she knows best is the human heart, its vagaries and complexities, its depths. What a wonderful poet she is.”
— Ron Rash, author of Among the Believers and Serena
“Marjory Heath Wentworth says in a poem her grandmother spoke seven languages fluently. I don’t know how many languages Wentworth can speak, but I do know she can write/speak one language superbly: American English. Her poems sing, dance, and see with sharpness things of the world that, for seeing them, make us more human.”
— Thomas Lux, author of God Particles and The Cradle Place
“Marjory Heath Wentworth reminds us, once again, of why we return to poetry for solace and courage and ballast when our hearts are at their fullest, or most broken moments. The poems, each and every, take the reader on a wondrous journey back and forth between the ordinary and the extraordinary, proving to us that the miraculous is everywhere, if only we look at it in the right light.
“In the second poem of the book, ‘Begin Again,’ the poet implores the reader to ‘tell me about the courage to bloom,’ and then she uses her beautiful book to show us all how do just that in the face of every kind of adversity—a father dying young, a middle-aged brother fighting for his life, a friend undergoing chemotherapy, the Killing Fields of Cambodia—even in the apparent safety and refinery of the suburbs.
“Not long ago, someone told me that he loved poetry ‘because it brings together two seemingly disparate things’ and in their unexpected melding, some new truth is derived. And so it is in these poems in which a box turtle trekking to a pond appears right next to ‘the shy widower watering roses in the dark’; in which Shanghai and Salem fit together like a duplex (or a couplet); in which even the ‘unspent coins in a saucer’ are rapt with significance.
“In the same poem that begs the reader to have the courage to bloom, Wentworth reminds us that beginning again, like writing really good poetry, ‘is like building a boat of bruised days from twisted hands.’ This wonderful, necessary, urgent collection, is just that boat—sturdy, sleek, and sea-worthy in even the roughest of seas, with Wentworth at the helm—a most able Captain steering us back towards safety and grace, and back home, at last, to ourselves.”
— Lisa Starr, Rhode Island Poet Laureate