"Mary Bonina's Clear Eye Tea celebrates the everyday events in our lives: a father returning from work; family members grown frail; a girl weeping on the train. And yet in her hands, the daily has a miraculous tinge. The sharp vision she was praised for as a child, when she was called 'the one with good eyes' who could spot the 'tiny spider floating/in the cup of wine' has developed into a kind of x-ray that illunminates the secrets, the motivations, and the bare bones inside our common gestures. I closed this book with a feeling of more than happiness, something very close to joy, and I can think of no greater praise."
Poetry Editor, Ploughshares,
author of The Situation
"Here is poetry that does what the title of this book suggests: it gives us a careful steeping in the real, and shows us also how hard it is to stay in emotional touch with it. Here is childhood, for example, seen as if one has finally found a way to open a door on what it was really like. Here also is mortal dread and loss, each embraced without flinching, and here too is praise for gentleness and love, neither any less real than the suffering they are interwoven with. Here then is the 'clear eye tea' of Mary Bonina's poetry."
author of The Looking House
"Mary Bonina's poems, written with a strong, authentic voice and a compass-eyed gaze, balance between presence and absence:dirty plastic pretend ivory thing ('Shop of Small Pleasures'); You will hear, too, the dove/its awful sad cry, because/in the rainforest even the sadness/of a dove has more msucle.('Sorcery'), and between whole and fractured lives: What on earth were they doing with the gun?/They were friends and it was an accident ('Shrine in Cambridge'). Line by line these poems breathe, and it is in this breath the reader's imagination shares the gifts of revelation, reconciliation, and ultimately, grace."
author of Convertible Night/Flurry of Stars