Memoranda by Michael Martone


by Michael Martone

ISBN: 978-1-4951-5762-2
Softcover, 29 pages.

Twenty-five twenty-five word stories from one of America’s most faithful reporters.

SKU: 978-1-4951-5762-2 Categories: , Tags: , ,


“We know exactly where we are and who we are in Michael Martone’s Memoranda, and then there’s a space, a blank, a hinge, a hole in the floor, a fold in the space/time continuum, a silent fugue, a “dragon in the crease” as Dickinson says.  Then we’re no longer sure who and where we are.  The memos do what good poems do: they trouble and baffle.  They astonish and intoxicate.  Martone makes us more aware of our affinities and complicities, of the strange American condition in which we live: our disappearances, our tears, our toxins, our techniques, our sorrows.” —Bruce Smith

mimeo machine

“Everyone’s here: two-bit administrators, underlings in whatever sad national or state agency holding forth, secret as prayer. What minds they’ve kept intact these years! These persona pieces declaim, shrug off, invoke and mourn the small large things that stop us too: life, death, Sharpie pens not all that sharp, love’s “buckets of bees” turned ash. “I am time’s shrapnel” sings one lackluster compatriot rigged to a harness above the flag at the National Museum of American History, just doing his job.

It’s Martone doing his job: ear to wind and ground, picking up the weird, the epic, the comic, the poignant: all the ghosts.” —Marianne Boruch

“The narrators in these memoranda invoke their rights: to remain silent when it’s called for, to speak only of what they wish to.  In these brief and lovely fictions, Martone reveals that the best response to the gods’ great silence is the hint that implies the depth of our emotions, our understanding of the joke. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me? Yes, these characters say to the universe. They wish to speak. And yes, we say, we want, more than anything, to listen to them.” —Susan Neville

Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has taught at several universities including Johns Hopkins, Iowa State, Harvard, Alabama, and Syracuse. He participated in the last major memo war fought with actual paper memoranda before the advent of electronic email. Staples were deployed. The paper generated in that war stacks several inches deep, thick enough to stop a bullet. Martone learned that the “cc:” is the most strategic field of the memo’s template, and he is sad to realize that fewer and fewer readers know what the “cc:” stands for let alone have ever held a piece of the delicate and duplicating artifact in their ink stained and smudge smudged fingers. It, like everything else, is history.

Additional information

Weight .25 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 × .25 × 4.5 in


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