by Denise O’Hagan
Recent Work Press

"In the mosaic of their shrunken lives,
I know they see themselves in me!"

This collection powerfully opens with the poem “Subtext,” a piece in which even a dent in a doorway is treated with respect and elegance. “The almost-child” explores a mother’s grief and the possibility of what might have been. Readers also encounter nostalgic, coming-of-age poems such as “On getting my first glasses at thirteen,” where “the world that was gifted me / Was one I no longer knew.” As the book continues, readers find “I walk on seashells,” which recounts a story of physical and emotional survival. Other poems like “Nature’s grand chandelier” blend imagery and rhyme schemes and combine the glory of nature with the tragedy natural disasters often offer. “A world in waiting” carefully reminds readers about the power of and necessity of solitude. Meanwhile, “The Powerful Owl is listed as vulnerable” prods one to consider the environmental effects of each and all of one's actions.

In these poems, the natural world and spaces of human existence coincide, sometimes in tandem and sometimes not. The pieces the author has included in this book are subtle and philosophical, metaphysical and emotional. They engage readers with their quiet images, which celebrate bits and pieces of everyday existence. Quietness reinforces the grief inherent in many of the poems. O’Hagan adeptly utilizes rhyming forms, enjambment, and other poetic techniques, which enhance the voice and imagery in each and every poem. Nature lovers will appreciate this book’s celebration of the natural world, while poetry fans will like the book’s craft and various forms. Moreover, readers of all backgrounds will enjoy the insights about and contemplations of the things and spaces so many take for granted.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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