01 - Uncommon Geography by Therése Halscheid May 27, 2008 5:26:10 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on May 27, 2008 5:26:10 GMT 2
In this book of poems, Uncommon Geography (Carpenter Gothic, 2006) Therése
Halscheid chronicles recent travels across varied terrain beginning with a
stay in a log cabin in the secluded pine barrens of NJ, then moving to
sacred environments as far as New Mexico, as well as other unusual settings
where she has been house-sitting, such as a primeval swamp in the Pan
Handle, Florida, and an elk farm in central Pennsylvania. They are poems
which impart Earth's consciousness, a higher learning which occurred while
writing there. Poetry which also teaches us that the journey outward
reflects an inner exploration, the landscape of the interior self.
house-sitting in the pinelands
I learned how to not be in the world,
the earth turned trusting
the forest began sharing
its old rhythms
gradually I wore less
until it was
that I stood unclothed
on the deck each night,
glad for the beginning of fur
on my body.
And my own sound came
from me then
that primal noise I had,
for years, swallowed.
That noise, the slow starting of fur,
was there for
what darkness allowed
that soft opening below,
of the dirt breaking
for when the flesh springs.
["In Seclusion" first appeared in Reed Magazine.]
Reviews for Uncommon Geography:
"In Therése Halscheid's new collection of poems, Uncommon Geography, she
takes us with her as she journeys from place to place, moving beyond the
safety of home. Her house-sitting adventures become her way of exploring the
complexity of her interior life and our human relationship to the natural
world. She lives alone, simply and freely, learning to trust herself,
discovering her own special place in the universe. She also shares her
experience of human pain; her grandfather's loss of his daughter, her
father's dementia, childhood illness.
These are reverent, haunting and meditative poems, ethereal yet earthy,
transcendent yet intimate. With Halscheid as our guide, we discover the
beauty and meaning of the world we live in. Praising natives in 'Nights
Here' she says … 'what courage it took to manage the deepest darkness.' In
'Andrew Wyeth' she describes a man painting the same hill a thousand times
and never tiring.' She learns from ancient peoples, from animals, from the
sun and the moon, from water and air. She is no less an explorer than
Thoreau, living alone on Walden Pond or an astronaut who rides to the moon.
Therése Halscheid's poetry is pierced by a deep spiritual beauty and power.
In Uncommon Geography, she has found her true home in the world."
-- Sondra Gash
"'What is not spoken / can never become fully alive,' says a character in
one of these poems. Therése Halscheid speaks, articulates, and brings to
life an inner geography that is intensely moving. She composes spare yet
lyrical, vivid lines that are 'a luminous testament to feeling.'"
-- Arthur Sze
"In these radiant and intense poems, Therése Halscheid makes us believe that
she is alone in nature. It is as if light itself is speaking. The reverent
observer sites and, yes, sights, the bottle chapel of 'Excavating Prayers,'
the stunning quiet of an elk farm, the rituals of rain maker and fire maker:
the sun 'igniting the actions / of daily hours.' Halscheid is a listener to
the 'Voice of Air,' with its 'valley breeze,' its 'floating breath.' We
will recall the beauty she leaves us with."
-- Elaine Terranova
About the author:
Therése Halscheid's recent poetry collection is Uncommon Geography
(Carpenter Gothic 2006) and Pudding House Publication's chapbook award,
Greatest Hits. She has been a house-sitter to write for over a decade. Her
writings have appeared in many journals. She won a 2003 Fellowship for
Poetry from NJ State Council on the Arts and is a visiting writer in
ISBN 0-9668739-0-4, 79 pages, $15.00
Carpenter Gothic, 2006
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Spring Church Books: Telephone: 1-800-496-1262