Reviewed by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Why do we need poetry? What does it mean to our lives? Reading this volume, I am struck by the range of emotions and stories, thoughts and styles represented here. Some poems are parables, myths, even history. Some are allegory, some chronicle a moment in a life; some tweak or tease us. And all the offerings here suggest the rich, delicious way that poetry informs us and reflects a particular way of looking at the world; suggesting, insinuating, opening us to new perspectives or grounding us in our deepest knowings.
Listen to this:
this poem is why I can’t sleep at night why I can’t lay my head
to rest when there is all this corruption in the world this poem
is what keeps my eyes wide and mind restless long after the moon is hung…
this poem is the day that I wake… -Alicia Valbuena
Some poems spring full-blown…
Some creep, uncertain, frail…
Some push themselves into the show… -Pat Harvey
Here are just a few lines that stay with me now:
Leaving Budapest and grandparents behind
silence in our hearts
the sounds of waves
reached and sealed a knowing—
no turning back! -Emoke B’Racz
Basalt mine, cracked hands, axes flying
Bodies falling out of line
He picked them up daily and carried them… -Emoke B’Racz
Still and seemly, sunflowers
line the gaze of memory…
They lean lanky into the ends of summer
above warm tomatoes sagging split upon the vine… -Maryann Jennings
Beloved music ends.
Full dawn makes fiery red the walls.
His soul returning to his skin…hesitates…
and in that space The Mystery reveals itself—
that it indwells in each cell
in every inch of his home this room
messy tiny ordinary. -Zoe Harber
I have to thank you for the inspiration
You have bled me all the way to poetry… -Sena Rippel
I will keep this book by my bed to open at random times; at 3:00am when I wake fully as if I’ve heard someone at the door; in the afternoon when I drink my decaf and eat dark chocolate; or to read aloud the words that are a song to life. That’s the meaning of poetry and why we need it. To remember and feel more deeply the sacredness of each moment; that nothing is truly ordinary.
The poets are: Alicia Valbuena, Barbara Gravel, Eileen Walkenstein, Emoke B’Racz, Genie Joiner, Maryann Jennings, Nancy Sanders, Patricia Harvey, Sena Rippel, Virginia Haynes Redfield, Zoe Durga Harber.
The anthology is published by Burning Bush Press, Malaprop’s publishing wing. It is the second book to be published this year, in celebration of their 30th Anniversary.