Looking through the new Eerdmans catalogue I came across New Tracks, Night Falling, a new book of poems by Jeanne Murray Walker. Walker is the author of six previous collections of poetry, including A Deed to the Light and Coming into History. She is Professor of English at the University of Delaware, where she has taught for thirty years. Among her awards are an NEA Fellowship, an Atlantic Monthly Fellowship at Bread Loaf School of English, (how good is that for the name of a school!), a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and the Glenna Luschi Prairie Schooner Prize for Poetry.
There's an effective oddity about some of her homespun images, and as a connoiseur of pizza my mind and heart (and maybe stomach) immediately resonated with her use of spinning pizza dough as an image for stretching out light and hope.(See the publisher's blurb below.)
I also like the image on the book cover. Gonnae get this so I am!
"The poems in New Tracks, Night Falling acknowledge that we are people driven and divided by fear. They talk about racism, war, loss, greed, alienation, our disregard of the earth, and our disregard of each other.
Sometimes we feel like night is falling in the bright light of day. Yet we get glimpses of hope, of what could be:
In this dark time I want to make light bigger,
to toss it in the air like a pizza chef,
to stick my fists in, stretching it
till I can get both arms into radiance above the elbow
and spin it above us.
Hope continually threads its way through these poems. We hear its voice as Walker writes about choices — both those we make and those beyond our making.
And we feel hope rising like bread when Walker focuses on the gifts of potential, resolution, mercy, joy — the new tracks that we can make in fresh snow, on old paths, along the roads more or less traveled. These are stays against the falling night.
With a keen eye for both physical and emotional detail, Walker explores a journey that all of us are on, and she does so in a way that speaks to our deep fears and deeper joys, that engages and inspires. Tempering somber notes with more joyful ones, she reminds us of the good things, great and small, that are still possible in this world."