Poet Spotlight: Marianne Murphy Zarzana

This is part of a series highlighting some of the poets anthologized in Poetry of Presence. We thank the poets for providing the material. Today we shine the spotlight on Marianne Murphy Zarzana.


POP zarzana spotlight

Short bio: I teach English and direct the Creative Writing Program at Southwest Minnesota State University. My work has appeared in Notre Dame Magazine, AYearofBeingHere.com, Stoneboat Literary Review, Blue Earth Review, Minnesota River Review, Dust & Fire, UmbrellaJournal.com, and elsewhere. I am married to writer James A. Zarzana, and we have a grown daughter.

A favorite quote: This is from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard:

“The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

Fun fact: Our only daughter and only child got married in Sweden this summer outdoors, and I wrote a daily haiku as a way to stay present, mindful and grounded amidst the swirl of wedding preparations. Friends and family traveled from all over the globe. It was an international gathering. We could not have been more joyful. Here’s a sampling of the daily haikus:


Azure sky, clouds scud.
Bus stop, old woman smiles, speaks.
I translate: “Fresh breeze.”

DOG-SITTING   (our daughter and her fiancé left for an overnight teachers’ retreat)

Bed’s edge, shih-tzu begs,
subtle as a jackhammer,
wins, sleeps with new pack.


Father-daughter walk,
Sweden, country road. Through oats,
moose bounds. Majestic.


Sunset, hedge’s edge,
a compact, prickly bundle
eats grass, ignores us.


Daughter, friend, parent,
wife, teacher—many mistakes.
Spring comes. Grow better.


Website: www.mariannezarzana.com


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