“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
“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