The poet invites us to share in her pursuit of identity; to witness the dramatization of the daily events of his/her experience so closely resembling our own; to be haunted by the imagery of her dreams or the flowing stream of his consciousness; to eavesdrop on relationships with friends and lovers; to absorb the shock of her deep seated fears.
One of the first people I met when I moved to Bainbridge Island almost seven years ago (how did that happen?) was writer Cathy Warner. I listened to her read from her recently published book of poetry called Burnt Offerings at the library, we read together at a variety of Kitsap county venues, and I took a writing class from her. We both were starting new lives in a new place when we met, and though we have both moved to other places since that time, we have not lost touch.
It takes time to build a poetry tribe and I am happy to include Cathy in mine. Cathy has written her second book of poetry and I am honored to share my thoughts about her most recent collection.
Cathy Warner’s newest collection of poetry, Home By Another Road,takes us down the highway of reflection and, whether she is the driver or the passenger, it is a journey that asks all the big questions. Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? What is home?
Warner uses every map she has available to answer these questions, and while on this journey we are fortunate to have an honest narrator at the wheel. While navigating the complicated territory of family, faith, forgiveness, regret, and redemption, Warner clearly understands we all must pay the toll master for the right of passage we call a life, where you cannot know, you never could, what might become/of you or anything you have ever loved.
Warner has the rare insight to acknowledge all the sadness and grief that is buckled up beside her on this trip, while never forgetting to look in the rear view mirror where joy sits patiently in the back seat, waiting for her to take up her pen in order to remember: the world is kind/sometimes the bars are set wide/and sometimes the twilight sky/ is tinged with love poems.
I am grateful for the places this poet takes us, and how she steers us into the green-/throated past/memory grown thick/as jungle weed arriving in the end/broken/but not before/we offer/(I hope)/our little morsel/to this world/a meal/a melody/a bouquet/a poem.
We all read together in January at Mother Foucault’s Bookshop where I had the opportunity to hear Melissa read from her new chapbook-RUPTURE, LIGHT.
RUPTURE, LIGHT is a book filled with poems that speak both to the personal and universal. The poems in this collection take us on a journey through the worlds of pregnancy, children, and marriage, and with this poet’s keen eye, helps us see both the transitory nature of the domestic scenes and their continued ability for rebirth: It turns out life is a will/an overfed bulb/that can be forced to bloom again/and again.
Hope is never forsaken in these poems, but as a keen observer the poet lets us know that all we love is leaving us: In the graveyard,/the snow softens the stones/while we walk, idle talk about how/we’ll be buried//You want to live forever/in the canyon we love,/your skin and bone/become sugar pine/and chaparral.
Reeser is a poet who tells us head on: there is one grief/inside of everything. And in the end, this ability to not shy away, is the very thing that allows the love of all she holds dear, to be gathered close with exquisite care, where there is nothing left to do but take it/tender in my hands,/try to soothe/its hunger.
I highly recommend you put RUPTURE, LIGHTon your poetry reading list and if you are in Portland catch Melissa reading at Cardinal Club on March 29th/5:30-6:30 PM.