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Maybe what we conceive of as the heart is really the attentiveness we bring to our own lives. In poems that are as intense in their candor as in their craft, Mary Jo Thompson’s attention is fearless, vulnerable, and gorgeous. Stunt Heart surveys the heart’s desires and its failings, and finds a world where the past is “helixed inside us” and “crows are loud, incessant.” Here, there is no escaping grief, but there’s no escaping joy, either. Unabashed even in the face of pain, Thompson keeps reminding us of the heart’s, and poetry’s, great stunt: “We will talk to the end / in that way love // has taught us.”

— Rick Barot