Four women of three generations wrote, and stored for years, the heartspeak of their lives. In advance review it has been praised as, “..a small miracle…a remarkable book.” This poetry tells of their joys, loves, families, nature, and choices each made. The voices are distinctly personal and reflect their sense of place, age and personality. From Washington D. C. to New York, from Kentucky to south Texas, their thoughts are turned to verses. The writing timespan is broad, stretching from the late 1930's to yesterday. The poems evoke the time period of their creation — the depression, World War II, Cold War, Vietnam War, Six Day War, Gulf War. Each poet found a different form in which to speak of longing, desire, acceptance and fulfillment. The women's lives were as varied as a quilt, traveling as far as Asia and Africa, all spending time in Europe, and sometimes it was the dusty plain of south Texas. Their means of a livelihood, which heavily influenced their time to pursue their writing, barely touches the poetry.
The book opens with the work of Faith Collins, My Mother, Alien Soul. She writes with the finely tuned voice of the literarily honed pen. Ever the lover of words, her subjects are her relationship with God, her loves, her isolation. Her longings, in her 'never quite comfortable' life, and her sense of humor, are spun out in the memorable shaping of her thoughts into verse.
The second voice is Laura McCarty, My Daughter. The sharply chiseled and raw tools put to hand in Love and Dirt display the division of age and place. Her voice is new and entirely her own, slicing through alibi and pretense, evasion and rationalization. Her widely traveled life and many adventures are played out for the reader in verses that take them along for the wild ride.
The quiet, insistent verses of Penny Ingle Bagby, My Sister, in Encounters, tracks her long life's walk across almost all of Texas. She paints a landscape sometimes barren, sometimes lush. The ups and downs of living find their way out of her heart and into the poems she has carefully crafted. At times her demand that her thoughts conform to certain styles are evident in her sonnets and villanelles but she also slides into free verse.
The last section is My Self, Murmurs by Patricia Ruth. The haunting of past and place, as her life moves across the decades, works its way along the threads of her mind and unravels as verse, poems which resonate with those who labor, who lose, who love, who leave. She affirms that the necessities and yearnings of emotion are essential and universal.
Inside this hefty volume these women weave a story familiar to most women of the past century. It casts a mirror to the reader who holds it up and nods — yes, these are the feelings I have pondered, the realities I have endured, the wounds I have sustained. Only the tiniest portion of this collection found its way into the public domain before the publishing of this book. When it did it received grateful appreciation from others in the form of awards.