The Vital Function of Constant Narrative

by Marlys West

About the Book

The Vital Function of Constant Narrative is a collection of poems that acts as both memoir and mystery. Each poem is a short meditation on what it means to make up a sense of self. Our roles, our world, and our personal histories create much of who we are and what we think of as our story. These poems expose reality in all of its multicolored arrays, weaving together adulthood and childhood, hospital and home, birds and flowers, blood and bones. The book is at once light and dense, profound and playful.

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Praise for The Vital Function of Constant Narrative

Whatever flows from you, you are: black bird, old dog, white cat. This new cup.

This line from the opening poem in Marlys West’s The Vital Function of Constant Narrative suggests elegantly the main thread that runs throughout the collection: here is no barrier between past, present, and future; this and other worldly; the living and the dead. All that has ever been or ever will be—plant, mineral, or animal—are vital parts of the ongoing narrative of both the conscious and the unconscious. West’s award winning book is a stunning collection of lyrical, wise, and haunting reminders of the connected, sacred nature of all things.

— Cathy Smith Bowers, Guest Editor and Former Poet Laureate of North Carolina

About the Author

Marlys West is the winner of V Press LC’s Poetry Book Contest, a former Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, a Michener Center Fellow, and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellow in Poetry. Her first book of poems, Notes for a Late Blooming Martyr, was published by the University of Akron Press. Marlys is a writer, teacher, editor, nurse, mother, and a painter of miniature landscapes.