|Cover: mint green cover with black ink
Publish Date: Aug. 1998, 2000
No. of Pages: 24
Barbara Crooker breathes new life into an old metaphor, confronting the transiency of our days where “night is always bearing down” to find the fleeting but redemptive core of our existence. Whether she traces the cycles of wild nature near her Pennsylvania home or meditates on human desire while strolling the gardens of Giverny, Crooker’s poems are tangible, descriptive, sensuous, and wise. This is a wonderful collection.
When Barbara Crooker tells us “she smells the sun’s/hot breath,” we believe her, for this is a poet who knows that poetry begins with the senses and who is intensely aware of them. But she also knows that the things of the world precede the senses, and we delight to watch her “Feel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,/ think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp,” always bringing us three-dimensionally, solidity. And as a poet who incorporates with feeling the rich fullness of experience, she also reaches forward and back, to longing and to memory, the reawakening of love or the recapturing of glistening moments both in France and in the blessed privacy of a writers’ colony. Her framing of this new book is particularly lovely, opening with the death of an opossum and ending with the celebration of a much-disdained bird, the grackle--a holy surprise.
Barbara Crooker grew up in Fishkill (NY), lived in Corning (NY) and Denville (NJ), and now lives in Fogelsville (PA). She has published poems in Yankee, Appalachia, Country Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, Highlights for Children, McCall's, Family Circle, Organic Gardening, Bird Watchers' Digest, Wilderness Camping, The Denver Quarterly, Poet & Critic, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Negative Capability, America, Zone 3, Light, and in five chapbooks, including The Lost Children (The Heyeck Press) and Obbligato (Linwood Publishing).
She has been the recipient of three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships in Literature, five residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has appeared in many anthologies, including Worlds in Our Words: Contemporary American Women Writers (Prentice Hall), A Whole Other Ballgame: Women Literature on Women's Sport (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Journey Into Motherhood (Putnam), Imagine Poetry (Prentice Hall, Canada), Poets' Market 1998 (Writers' Digest), For A Living: The Poetry of Work (University of Illinois Press), For She is The Tree of Life: Grandmothers Through the Eyes of Women Writers (Conari Press), Painted Bride 20 Year Retrospective (Painted Bride Art Center), This Sporting Life (Milkweed Press), Life On the Line (Negative Capability Press), and others.