Tuesday, August 21, 2007

100 Steps Review in the Seattle Times

Here's the link to the review and here's the review by Richard Wakefield:

Jenifer Browne Lawrence ventures into very deep water in "One Hundred Steps From Shore" (Blue Begonia Press, 79 pp., $15). In this Seattle-area poet's fragmented lyrics, the solid bottom is always below her feet, the water threatening to close over her head.

In the title poem, a family waits outside the emergency room where a daughter undergoes treatment after being hit by a car. Three sisters assemble a puzzle, as if putting the pieces together will also put their lives together: "We build the trees from the green down to wheat / and there is nothing left but sky." Then the door swings open, the doctor enters, and they learn that the last pieces will never fit.

In the poems that follow, various family members try to make sense of the world, but the shock waves of their loss are an earthquake that brings everything down. In "Sweeping the Sky," a moment that could bring people together becomes a drama of separation:

I haven't told her Dad's last words,

Where's your mother? Nor how, as though it were

the truth, I told him he would see her in the


that she'd gone home before it got too dark to see.

He turned his face to keep me from seeing.

In the gloom of Lawrence's poems, there is a compensatory light — the illumination of how real people confront loss.

Richard Wakefield is the author of "East of Early Winters," a poetry collection published by the University of Evansville Press. He lives in Federal Way.

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