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A Deep But Dazzling Darkness

A Deep But Dazzling Darkness

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Constance Rowell Mastores was born in San Francisco and grew up in Berkeley, CA. She has a BA in French and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. After completing her MA thesis on Wallace Stevens, directed by Josephine Miles, she left for Europe to study for a year each at the University of Florence and the Sorbonne. On her return to the United States, she taught in the Comparative Literature Department at UC-Berkeley while working toward her Ph.D. Mastores is a classicist by inclination and a modernist by choice. Mastores' poems have appeared widely and earned numerous awards. Her poetry has been featured in The Bellowing Ark, Blue Unicorn, and most recently in The Magnolia Quarterly. You may also find her work in the anthology The Phoenix Rising From The Ashes (Friesen Press, Canada, 2013). Her book, During My Grandfather's Time (based on her maternal grandfather), is a part of the Julius Francis Behrend Collection, housed in The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley. Constance and her husband, Kent Nickolas Mastores, live in Oakland, California. ENDORSEMENTS I have found these poems a constant source of pleasure. Mastores is to me a poet of immediacy-of rapt contemplation of the phenomenal world which, curiously, does not exclude detachment and humor-also of an erudition that does not exclude spontaneity. She is a dexterous wielder of both the vivid image and the musical line. -Esther Cameron, The Deronda Review These poems of Constance Rowell Mastores are vibrant, complex in the best sense of the word, and superbly crafted. In most of them, her persona is an extraordinarily intelligent and educated consciousness who seeks to understand herself and her place and purpose in the world around her. This restless searching, often filled with anxiety, sends her from massive objects amid the emptiness of interstellar space to the sub-atomic realm of quantum mechanics. She peers intently into both her personal and our western cultural pasts, her identity often merging with characters and events from both arenas that seem to reflect her present state of mind. In this process she has presented us with absorbing depictions of how memories over time become more like dreams than reality-dreamlike because the people and objects have been transformed into archetypal figures and symbols. But these poems are more than intellectual exercises-they are invested with emotional intensities that are sometimes startling. As an added bonus, Ms. Mastores has a musician's ear for how to create marvelous and appropriate sound effects with words and cadences. -John Freeman, Batture Willow Press With her shape-shifting, synesthetic imagery and her subtle use of sound, Mastores is a poet whose words seem to breathe on the page. She is a specialist in skies and seasons, and in the corresponding-or commingled-seasons of the soul. Hers is a world of brightness, shadow, and sharp focuses, sometimes dismaying, sometimes invigorating. These windows burn, as she says in one poem, "with the clear image of winter." As editors of the poetry tri-quarterly Blue Unicorn, we have been pleased to publish Constance's work over the years. -Ruth G. Iodice, John Hart, Fred Ostrander Mastores' poems reflect a wide range of experiences, from unusual encounters with the natural world and its inhabitants, to meditations on the cosmos, grief, and memory. Her poetic vision shines a light into the corners of the heart. -Jean Millichamp Milliken, The Lyric
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