Sensuous, vivid, and richly detailed, Minnow wakes us to the urgency and grace of natural landscapes and intimate connections. Through close, reverent observation, Chalmer depicts the world around us, between us, and within us. These poems pulse with tenderness, awe, and beauty, but beneath this is a palpable undercurrent of fear and vulnerability. In "The Difficulty Ahead," we find a "roof / of broken sunlight and all the threadbare leaves nodding." These poems reach beyond narrative to our felt experience: "we saw / with new eyes this world-bright / and shocking. It was full // of silence."
Alison Prine, author of Steel, Cider Press Review Book Award
In her outstanding collection, Minnow, Judith Chalmer asks early on: "Why not begin, simple in speech / plain in your mild rapture?" Yet though these poems unravel deliciously their simple, accessible lines, there is nothing "mild" or "plain" about the raptures they weave out of the most ordinary, miraculous details of a life spent in love with the natural world-and in love with life itself. In fact, the words "love" and "hope" appear over and over in the poems as Chalmer reminds us (and herself) that we are here to connect with each other, "tugged / into a bewildered hope / with nothing beneath us but a whisper."
James Crews, editor of Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection
Judith Chalmer opens her stunning Minnow with the question, "And if there are sorrows?" There is no answer, only the beauty around us: in times laced with grief, the leaves are "still green, even more so." The exuberant Song of Songs is the voice of youth: "O, my sister, my bride " But Minnow is a Song for our later years, knowing sorrow, but still shimmering with celebration. The poet has found her bride: "dance again / summersweet / and sedum / and your tongue / snapdragon plump." Minnow is affirmation, is ritual, a thanksgiving for the natural world and for love. It's a gorgeous book.
Sue D. Burton, author of BOX, Two Sylvias Press Poetry Prize; Silver Winner, Foreword Review's INDIES; finalist Vermont Book Award.