How Many Miles to Babylon? By Anne Elezabeth Pluto

How Many Miles to Babylon?

Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto


Praise for How Many Miles to Babylon?

“The speaker in Anne Elezabeth Pluto’s moving, grief-ridden collection, How Many Miles to Babylon, asks how can we bear tragedy and suffering when “life goes on/and on/and on.” It is an ambitious collection that navigates the political and the personal with equal aplomb—past and present wars in her ancestral homeland, homages to her literary idols, memories of friends and teachers from childhood, and most poignantly, elegies for the speaker’s beloved partner. These finely crafted poems use assonance, consonance and rhyme to great effect. “Dog and Bed” has haunted me since I heard Pluto read it several months ago. After the tragic death of the speaker’s beloved, whom she cared for in home hospice, she and her dog listen as the nurses and funeral director coldly carry out the business of death. She listens as they deflate his mattress and after they leave, she sleeps on the couch because she had “forgotten how to use a bed.” For all its sorrow, the book is one of resilience, hope, and beauty. It answers its own question about why we endure, “women/ are the ones who weave the remains of ruin../ who decide to live to tell the story.” —Jennifer Franklin, author of If Some God Shakes Your House (Four Way Books, 2023)

About the Author

Anne Elezabeth Pluto grew up in Brooklyn, NY before it was cool. She is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA where she is the artistic director of the Oxford Street Players.  She is an alumna of Shakespeare & Company and was a member of the Worcester Shakespeare Company 2011 – 2016. She was a member of the Boston small press scene in the late 1980s and is one of the founders and editors at Nixes Mate Review and Nixes Mate Books.  Her publications include chapbooks: The Frog Princess, White Pine Press (1985), eBook Lubbock Electric, Argotist ebooks (2012), Benign Protection Cervena Barva Press (2016), the edited print edition of Lubbock Electric Nixes Mate Books (2018), and full-length collection The Deepest Part of Dark, Unlikely Stories Press, NOLA (2020).