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Cracked Piano

Cracked Piano

Current price: $16.00
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
CavanKerry Press
Chop Suey Books
2 on hand, as of Jan 28 5:03pm
On Our Shelves Now


Margo Taft Stever acutely observes and describes human society, past and present. From her compelling and beautiful descriptions of life inside a nineteenth-century private insane asylum to her colorful and often critical depiction of elements of contemporary society, her poems profoundly speak to us. They describe the delicate line between the certifiably insane and the irrationality of everyday life; they depict a society sometimes harsh and ugly, sometimes soft and loving, with stunning visual imagery. Stever speaks to us about our interactions with each other and with the natural world. Each segment tells its own story that captures us and makes us think.

About the Author

Margo Taft Stever’s poetry collections include The Lunatic Ball, The Hudson Line, Frozen Spring, and Reading the Night Sky. She co-authored with her son, James Taft Stever, Looking East: William Howard Taft and the 1905 U.S. Diplomatic Mission to China. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. She is founder of the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. For more information about Margo, please see

Praise for Cracked Piano

Grand Prize Honorable Mention
— Eric Hoffer Awards

"Margo Taft Stever’s Cracked Piano is a collection of forty-two poems divided into five sections that offers glimpses into pain, aloneness, mental disorder, psychiatric treatment, remembrance, trauma, and invisible barriers, taking us on a mind-watching tour of the collection’s central figure: the poet’s great-grandfather, Peter Rawson Taft. Many poems toe the thin line of sanity and insanity, mining Peter’s experiences through following generations, childhood memories, and explorations of other devastating moments."
— Another Chicago Magazine

"The sensibility in Cracked Piano shows a fractured and often frightening world with a speaker who yearns for a human existence that is less broken, not cracked like the piano in the title poem where one of the inmates is trying to 'extract harmonious discords out of a cracked piano.' This may as well be Stever’s own quest, to speak out of pain with some sort of hope for harmony."
— Cider Press Review