Hillary Gravendyk has a book of poetry out called HARM. I finished it today and liked it very much in the way one likes such things that turn the belly and make you want to cry. Not that there aren't some sexy moments or that she doesn't take time for tiny librarians, clock faces, and uv-seeing sparrows, but mostly it's a sorrowful peal. It's like sitting at the edge of a forest and listening to the howling feral dogs.
The forest is also inhabited by birds and weather patterns. Nimbus clouds gather; there is "cherry bomb weather." In THE BIG, THE BAD, she guides us through an enchanted forest of storybook characters who seem familiar but are still new and wondrous. Then we are in the hospital rooms again.
I have asthma, so I think about my lungs quite a bit more than most people, but nothing like Gravendyk. She has had half a dozen lung transplants in the last three years. I asked her some questions about them, and I wanted to publish the short interview, but I haven't asked her yet if I could, so wait for that. Maybe she'll permit me to publish an interview here in a new post soon. Anyway, breath is a present rhythm in this work, and pain and healing just to receive more pain and healing is an evident theme that speaks to all of our experiences on this planet. It's perhaps the most adroit relation of a poet's experience to a reader's.
The things I don't like about this book (just to stay critical):
The blurbs on the back are so long they actually put me off reading this book for a few days. There are two poets I know who wrote those blurbs, but there are four blurbs. All of them are far too long. I kind of wish Omnidawn had put something else on there, maybe something that says READ ME! That's it. I loved this book. You should buy it. Click here to do that.