Palimpsest by Maxine Silverman


While Palimpsest is about life’s unfairness, it is ultimately about life’s lovely rituals, its history braided out of pain and hope, its relationships.   —Kim Bridgford


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 94
  • Language: English
  • Published: November, 2014
  • ISBN:  978-1-939929-23-5


“Maxine Silverman writes, “how it begins, evil / pedestrian / as a morning walk.” While Palimpsest is about life’s unfairness, it is ultimately about life’s lovely rituals, its history braided out of pain and hope, its relationships.  While certainly all of our lives could have gone a different way, Silverman underscores . . . the seeming inevitability of the one we have lived, its symbolic resonance, its importance all along the generational path.  For those who are interested in behaving tenderly to the human family and transcending life’s hardships, it is a must-read.”  – Kim Bridgford

“Families, nature, the body, artists as different as Romare Bearden and Irina Ratushinskaya: in the poems of Palimpsest, Maxine Silverman’s imagination draws these diverse strands into a dense matrix of kinship. Remembered scenes and familiar actions are seen anew, in the insistent glow of “a thousand most tender mercies” (“La Natividad”). The fleeting is made permanent, newly named with “some sound that fills the clearing with light” (“Daybreak, the Doe, the Trees”). These are visionary poems of heart but also of spirit. Each is a reckoning with wonders concealed in plain view, and Silverman is a poet assured in her calling, who knows (as she says in “Morning, Possum”) that ‘Today, / . . . was given me for this and no more. . . .’” – Ann Lauinger



Remember how your legs moved,
your year-old legs, left foot pointing right tripping
her sister? How every cell cried out push,
push your own stroller, kitchen chairs, anything
to steady your willing unable body forward,
earning mock praise from Uncle Sol, “Piano Mover.”
The name stuck until your foot straightened
perforce, you strode

into the future where you stand now
at the top of the drive, gauging distance,
easy rain glazing blacktop to glitter.
Giddy, your first time out, spine straightened,
fortified with enough metal to rouse
airport security,

pushing your modus operandi ahead of you,
a walker, wheels rolling,
the body leaning into a soft January afternoon
ordered to believe what the mind ordains: now
walk, baby, walk.


Maxine SilvermanMaxine Silverman is the author of four chapbooks: Survival Song, Red Delicious (in Desire Path, inaugural volume of the Quartet Series from Toadlily Press), 52 Ways of Looking, and Transport of the Aim, a garland of poems on the lives of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Celia Thaxter.  Winner of a Pushcart Prize, she has published poems and essays in journals (among them Nimrod, Natural Bridge, Isotope, StringPoet, Lilith, Mezzo Cammin, Mom Egg, Heliotrope, and The Westchester Review), anthologies (among them Pushcart Prize III, Voices within the Ark, Splinters & Fragments/Earth’s Daughters, WomanPoet: Midwest, Connected: What Remains as We All Change, and Poems to Live By), and Enskyment: Online Archive of American Poetry. “Life List” has been inscribed on granite at Edmands Park in Newton, MA—her most unusual form of publication so far.

A native of Sedalia, MO, she now lives in the Hudson River valley with her husband and garden, and they’re the parents of two grown sons.  In addition to poetry, she creates collage, bricolage and visual midrash.  Her website is

Additional information

Weight 10 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in