These poems in this collection are steeped in loss and lament as they concern the death of the poet’s family members, particularly her father, and the premature death of two brothers two years apart. The collection’s tone is often elegiac, but rarely maudlin, and the clipped narrative is frequently imbued with lyrical strains. The poems are emotional counterpoints to life’s implacable realities and in the resulting response the poet learns that self-recrimination, denial, or anger cannot change the course of events. She teaches us that grief is a singular and deeply emotional experience and the poems convey this intimacy and offer a clear and empathetic path to a very specific emotional wellness.
Excerpt from “House by the Sea”
If the brain is a house by the sea
dementia a storm rising
water rushing in, lifting tables, chairs
Mute, deaf and blind, the brain
employs the body as translator:
muteness into spoken word
deafness into birdsong
blindness into a vision of heaven.