Debra Marquart: from Chin Whiskers to Fracking to Things Not to Put in Your Mouth

May 11, 2016

Who says poetry has to be monotonous and sentimental?  Definitely not the case with Debra Marquart's third poetry collection, "Small Buried Things" (New Rivers Press).  The Iowa State University English professor, who teaches in the M.F.A. program in creative writing, keeps you guessing throughout what her next topic will be. 

One poem in Marquart's new book might be (and is) about the agony of finding a whisker on her chin and the next poem is about the environmental degradation caused by "fracking" in her home state of North Dakota.  In between you'll read about the agony of misguided relationships and the odd things that people have swallowed, based on a display at the Iowa State Historical Museum.

Marquart, who has lived in Iowa since 1991, told Charity, "Every poem should have a drop of your own blood in it.  For me, to write a poem, I have to have an emotional investment in it."  Some of her work in the new book is based on her return to North Dakota to witness the effects of fracking on the landscape.  She told us: "There are some good things about the oil boom, but we must realize that many people in the state are despairing--feeling that they have been declared an energy sacrifice zone and the rest of the country doesn't care what their land and water will be like.  I love the place, so I must speak up for it."