The speakers of Oracle occupy the outer-borough cityscape of New York’s Staten Island, where they move through worlds glittering with refuse and peopled by ghosts—of a dead lover, of a friend lost to suicide, of a dog with glistening eyes. Marvin’s haunting, passionate poems explore themes of loss, of the vulnerability of womanhood in a world hostile to it, and of the fraught, strangely compelling landscape of adolescence.


Forthcoming July 2016
ISBN 978-0-393-35313-6
5.5 × 8.3 in / 96 pages


March 2015
ISBN 978-0-393-07798-8
5.8 × 8.6 in / 96 pages



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“Oracle explores the devastating experiences of womanhood—hurricane season, dead girl season, break-up season—the stations she weathers as she rises from the ruin with her wits intact. Electric and triumphant, Oracle delivers Marvin’s trademark bravado in poems about the darkly human journey.” — Rigoberto González


“These are poems of feeling, memory, and calamity, of a life lived near the edge and an edge that nevertheless always resolves itself into a haunting ethical music. This is a wonderful collection of poems. It makes a powerful claim on the reader at every turn, on every page.” — Eavan Boland


“When action arrives in a Cate Marvin poem, it’s like she’s a superhero aiming incisive critiques. However, what is to be trusted here is her ear and her wry humor. No one will beg to disagree: increasingly, Cate Marvin is a force whose beseeching rhythms make her one of the most gifted poets of her generation.” — Major Jackson


“E. M. Cioran claimed that ‘salvation is the death of song.’ Three books in, and Cate Marvin shows no signs of having been saved. Film noir troubador, Staten Island flâneur, metaphysical deerstalker: this the poet of pursuant dread, of the ghost-infested Thou, and of the despairing American endlessness of self. Dark? Yes. But the balm, in Oracle, is the power of the Marvin-speaker’s sense of humor—’I once had a quasi- / Victorian way about me’—which is at its most politic and disarming the closer it gets to the shadow.” — Josh Bell