Barbara Crooker's new book Gold focuses on one of the most profound life-
altering experiences possible: losing one's mother. This collection is an
elegy, not just to the speaker's mother, but to a lost Eden that cannot be
reclaimed. Beginning with a series of lyrics set in autumn, the poems
become more narrative, recounting the long illness of Crooker's mother, her
death, and the profound journey along the shores of grief. Throughout,
Crooker is aware of the complexity and strength of the mother/daughter
relationship and the chasm that this loss opens. The book includes other
themes: poems about aging and the body, the loss of friends, the
difficulties and joys in a long-term marriage, and always, the subtle ways
faith influences the way Crooker experiences life. Her work has great
scope, spanning the globe from rural Pennsylvania to Ireland, and reaching
not just within herself but also outside of herself, to ekphrastic poems on
the paintings of Gorky, Manet, Matisse, and others. This is the book of a
mature writer, one who demonstrates an awareness of our own impermanence,
our brokenness, and one who knows that if our parents go before us, we will
have to learn to live with loss. In this book, we see the redemptive power
of poetry itself to heal and to console.

Barbara Crooker—Gold

  • 9781620329405