Editors: Marilyn Zuckerman, Christopher Butters, and Robert Edwards
Publication Date: 2014
Edited by poets Marilyn Zuckerman, Christopher Butters, and Robert Edwards, Continuous Performance: The Selected Poems of Maggie Jaffe presents a substantial collection of this poet's most important work. As Robert Edwards intimates in his introduction to this collection, "Once Maggie found her voice, she created a kind of poetry that was relentlessly stripped to the essentials, everything superfluous burned away in the underlying fury that inhabits these poems."
Maggie Jaffe is one of those women who carry us through dark times. Her voice is a reflection of the Brontes turned coarse-mouthed and desperate...a Lenny Bruce in drag, Vesuvian with rage. She is our Cassandra, the one who tells us that it is always three o’clock in the morning.
– Marilyn Zuckerman
Whether about visiting her lover in prison or The Shining or Oppenheimer, a Maggie Jaffe poem is always intelligent and astute, filled with the energy with which she lived. Her poems are political in the best possible definition of the term too, for she knew Lawrence was right: art must be passionately moral without being didactic, must “change the blood” and then the mind follows.
– Michael McIrvin
Maggie Jaffe’s poems have a rare power and beauty. She writes about Mayakovsky, Van Gogh, Kafka, Jean Seaberg, and other extraordinary figures of our time, also about art and Fascism and Steve Biko, but never in a predictably political way, always in a way that astonishes us and that says something profound about the world we live in.
– Howard Zinn
Again and again in this generous selection, Maggie Jaffe brings public events and public people close. Her gaze is turned ever outward, yet these poems feel intensely personal because they are everything poems should be: immoderate, political, bursting with economy, rigorously ethical, deeply humane, attentive to the real. Continuous Performance will remind readers of an important poet who died too soon, whose life’s work was refusing to allow us to avoid knowing what is still happening in our world.
– Daisy Fried
Maggie Jaffe (1948 – 2011) was the author of six books of poetry. Both 7th Circle and The Prisons, won the San Diego Book Award for Poetry. She taught at San Diego State University in the English and Comparative Literature Department. She was also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and a California Arts Council Grant.