The Glaze from Breaking


Stride, 2005: ISBN 1-905024-00-2

This edition is out of print.

Upper Rubber Boot, 2011: ISBNs 978-1-937794-11-8 (epub); 978-1-937794-09-5 (mobi)

This reprinted edition is currently available as a Kindle edition and will be available for other e-readers in Spring 2012.


The dreadlocks of polar bears; the atomized droplets of an underground waterfall; oranges as an offering to the dead; a purple hippopotamus wading pool in a strip club; hoar frost and aurora borealis and bail bondsmen and road kill: Joanne Merriam’s inaugural collection of poetry catalogues morsels of experience. The Glaze from Breaking overflows with lovely, vivid poems about the aftermath of a breakup, and the redemptive power of travel, nature and love. Her language charged with verbal energy, Merriam has crafted a moving portrait of a woman who is saved by her close observation of the everyday wonders of the world.




“The poetry is ripe with sensuality, whether it is kissing or watching birds flutter or polar bears fight.”

– Jacqueline Karp, New Hope International Review Online, September 2005.


“She reminded me a lot of the early work of Boris Pasternak where the poet does not so much observe the natural world as fuse with it breaking down the boundaries between speaker and landscape… She also does clever things with sound… [and] has the odd image that manages to be both unusual and just right.”

– Belinda Cooke reviews six new volumes from Stride, Shearsman 63/4, April 2005.


“…a secondary level of suggestiveness on which the overall themes of this collection become clear. This is characteristic of the way in which the best of the poems and sequences in The Glaze from Breaking succeed: the implications of particular images shift and are clarified in time. The first sentence in the book tells us that ‘Theories of self can be demolished’, and the poems proceed to show subjective language rewriting itself, as where the word ‘breaking’ in the book’s title comes to inhabit many of its different senses at once…”

– Matthew Sperling, Matthew Sperling reviews three new collections from Stride, Tower Poetry, June 2005.


“Her language is fabulous.”

– Mary Agner, online review, May 13, 2005.


“Merriam, a Canadian poet now living in the United States, published her book through a British publisher, and its distribution in North America is limited to overseas orders. But readers of contemporary poetry – especially those intrigued by the possibilities of the prose-poem form – will find this small yet deeply felt collection well worth seeking out for its elegant exploration of love and loss, recovery and redemption, eroticism and the echoes of the heart.”

– Kate Washington, “Beautifully Formed: A Review of Joanne Merriam’s The Glaze From Breaking,” chicklit, March 30, 2005.


“Merriam’s entire collection uses silence to give her work an eerie feel of helplessness. Silence is a kidnapper of communication, and Merriam suffocates us in the inability to express, as though ‘[m]outh sealed in nectar, silence lies dormant on my tongue.’… Her images are sharp and vivid…”

– Alicia Higginbotham, “The Glaze From Breaking by Joanne Merriam,” Verse, March 5, 2005.


“Memory, tenderness, and its flip side ‘estrangement’ – these are key themes in Joanne Merriam’s exquisite poems. With an accomplished lyric ear and eye, Merriam’s images soar through her verses and prose poems like plants flinging their spores. The city is always in the frame yet, out of the window, lies the natural world; a beautifully rendered amphitheatre in which the poet explores personal relationships and the relation in which we stand to the world. Merriam’s emotional honesty, combined with her convincing, startling images, will transport you.”

– Andy Brown


“Joanne Merriam saves herself by travelling, remembering, and by long lines and prose poems well-suited to Stride’s new square format books.”

– Jane Routh, “Fireside Reading,” Stride Magazine, January 2005.


Table of Contents

I …explosion of wings

Tighten to Bruise    9
The Kiss    14
Sealed in Nectar    15
As If    17
Bodies Make Poor Lenses    18
Auto Biographies    19
The Villain in the Piece    20
A Taste for Guilt    21
Lady Day on the Radio    22
Out Of It    23
And the Ways of Men    24
Long Weekend    25
Things I’d Have Thought You Were Crazy If You’d Told Me Then I’d Be Doing Them Now    26
Cunt    28
Eight Ways To Think About Happiness    29
Why Wait to Believe?    37

II …calendar of dreams

January    41
February    42
March    43
April    44
May    45
June    46
July    47
August    48
September    49
October    50
November    51
December    52

III …feathers into cloth

With Every Step    55
Every Day 600 Miles Further From Home    57
Crow Perching on Telephone Wire    65
Traveler’s Anecdote    66
Glorybower    67
Footprints Drying on the Stairs    68
Guest Room    69
Re Member Ies    70
Personal    71
Things that Happened in My Absence    73
Here    74
The Ghost Road    76

Thanks    77
Notes    78

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