Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Erin Noteboom


Ghost Maps: Poems for Carl Hruska is Erin Noteboomís remarkable debut collection of poetry. Based on the recollections of a World War II Veteran who asks to never have his name put on anything, Ghost Maps introduces us to the intimacies of war with poems sharp as fragments of metal, and soft as falling snow. With a voice that belongs not to the veteran that answered her questions, nor quite to herself, Noteboom pulls forward images of war, following the pulse of the seasons. We read of a hand, unattached to a body and mistaken for a glove; the woman left at home, with German POWs shoveling snow from her roof; and a soldier stumbling into a beehive. Poems pass through fall and winter, until in summer we follow our narrator home. The collection then traces the rest of his life to his later days when he meets with the "lady researcher," who collects his stories. Ghost Maps will acquaint readers with the ghosts never to be forgotten, in a book that marks the entry of a highly talented new poet. — from the publisher.

In these "recollected" fragments, stunningly imagined, Erin Noteboom gracefully transgresses barriers of age, gender, memory, and half a century's murky complexities. Ghost Maps is something other than a biography: it's an elevation of the luminously simple images by which humans understand our commonness. — Marlene Cookshaw

These peoms are the best that language can give us. They startled me to tears. With the bravery of a Gwendolyn MacEwen taking on the uneasy life of TE Lawrence, Erin Noteboom gets inside the heart and head of a WWII veteran who doesn't even want his name to be mentioned. Instead, what we get is a blood-warm imagery, the taste of a story, and a rare, hard-won wisdom. The poet says that we used to know that "every opening is a door / for ghosts." Make room for these ghosts because the minute you start reading this book, they lift off the pages and walk into your world. Forever you'll be haunted by them and by the remarkable power of Erin Noteboom's poetry. — Lorna Crozier

In the foxholes of intimacy, time compresses and expands like the heart. Gestures and images are its only enduring language. Erin Noteboom takes us into a WWII foxholee with "a decent boy" where soldiers sleep in "stooks," leaning against one another like wheat. The understated voice of Noteboom's narrator reveals how the ordinary tenderness and terrors of this experience shapes the rest of his life. You will discover that you have never read poems like these beefore. Neither has the narrator, who cautions "Never put my name on anything, would you, Erin?" As Elaine Scarry suggests, beauty is in the particular. With Woolf-like devotion and acuity, Noteboom tracks the beauty of the specific gestures and images of her narrator and they haunt you long after you have put this book down. — Betsy Warland

With a poet's turn of phrase and an artist's eye for detail, Noteboom captures the joys and sorrows of her daughter's first year in The Mongoose Diaries. — from the publisher

In her second collection, Erin Noteboom draws on the Bible to create vivid and thought-provoking poetry. Fearlessly, Noteboom considers the psalms, proverbs, the traditional stories of the Bible, and other ideas of religion. Always, she writes from the unexpected point-of-view. She writes of Leahís experience, and Cainís — rather than Jacobís and Abelís. The psalms contain praise of dishwater, and Noteboom doesnít hesitate to comment on more extreme forms of religious conviction. A fascinating and intriguing book. — from the publishere

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Nebraska Center for Writers