Lice, leeches, roaches, and rats, what people call “vermin” are fascinating cultures with vivid life styles. Marilyn Stablein, their chronicler, is a non-judgmental and generous writer who watches these nonhumans with serene detachment, humor, and uncanny empathy. Stablein may be the reincarnated Sumi-e (1420-1507), the master of ink painting who revealed universes with a few brush strokes. She reports in elegant prose the lives of creatures we usually crunch, tear, ignore or recoil from, and in so doing, she writes also the marvelous adventures of two contemporary traveling monks.
Marilyn Stablein is a wonderful writer who knows a vermin when she sees—or meets—one. If I were a Texan I’d say, ‘Read her book rat now!’
One might bet on the frequency and duration of spells in Marilyn Stablein’s book. You can cash out here for sorrow, for comedies, fools boiling in silver spoons. You never know what’s about to appear out your kitchen window whether children’s milk teeth haunting the memories of beetles, or miracle vomit of rats come to cheat a day of its 100 elephant ears and a night of its toaster oven. Be the first to play dead in order to witness certain dimensions come for repairs.
Marilyn Stablein is an award-winning poet, essayist, fiction writer and mixed media artist whose sculptural artist’s books, altered books and performance art concern visual narrative, travelog and memoir.
Her books include Houeboat on the Ganges & A Room in Kathmandu (2019); Night Travels to Tibet; Sleeping in Caves: A Sixties Himalayan Memoir; a collection of eco-essays set in the Northwest, Climate of Extremes: Landscape and Imagination; Splitting Hard Ground: Poems (New Mexico Book Award) and Bind, Alter Fold, a monograph of her artist books.
Her collages, assemblages and artist books are exhibited internationally and are in private and public collections including: SUNY Buffalo, Yale University Beinecke Library, Brown University Library, The British Library and University of Washington, Suzallo and Allen Libraries Special Collections.
She lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon.