In her fourth book of poetry, Sunday Rising, Patricia Clark masterfully weaves together many different threads of one great, universal story, one that I found myself listening to with my heart as well as my ears. She captures the bone-deep relationship between nature and humanity which, it seems, so many no longer understand:
I stood as sure of him
as stone, as gravity, as
white oak tree trunk eighty feet
up in the yard, solid,
I called him when others
named him air, cloud, pine
needle cluster fragile, wisp
of seed blown from a milkweed,
flower of chocolate joe-pye
Clark also captures, again and again, the longing, sometimes desperate, for what once was, or what we hope could be:
If we could live in peace
bury the hatchet
sharpen knives and then
slice bread and not each other
If the spell could send
the wicked witch into the forest
The book was arranged in sections, but I found myself paging through, dipping in here, diving in there, drawn by an image or insight into poem after poem. Again and again I thought "Yes!" when Clark caught a moment that I could see with crystal clarity, not just in her words, but in my own experience as well.
Each poem in Sunday Rising is a gift of time, as Clark takes something fleeting and crafts it, with her words, into something else that we can grasp in our hands, and hold dear.
Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. She is the author of four books of poetry: Sunday Rising; She Walks Into the Sea; My Father on a Bicycle; and North of Wondering. Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Poetry, Mississippi Review, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Pennsylvania Review, North American Review, Seattle Review, and Iowa Woman. She has also co-edited an anthology of contemporary women writers called Worlds in Our Words. Visit her website.
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