Still Falling: Poems

Graywolf May 2023. 72p. ISBN 9781644452318. pap. $16. POETRY
Director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Grotz (Window Left Open) offers free verse with scatterings of alliteration and rhyme in her affecting new collection. She notes in an interview that her poems begin when “something in the world catches my eye”; then she hears a piece of music or an interior voice and combines all of these elements to create a kind of patchwork poetry. Many of the best poems in this patchwork contain biblical allusions, with one of the best, “The Conversion of Paul,” connecting Paul’s epiphany on the road to Damascus with the death of a close friend named Paul. (A stunning close-up of Caravaggio’s painting on the subject is reproduced on the book’s cover.) Another poem references the Bible’s well-known observation about the Virgin Mary: “She kept all These Things and Pondered Them in Her Heart,” but here Grotz is the one pondering the loss of a loved one. In fact, loss figures largely in this collection, including, evidently, the loss of a mother.
VERDICT Coming from deep inside, these poems work by free association, often alluding to falling rain, snow, and even sunlight pouring onto a surface, all of which add a spiritual resonance to these hypnotic and meditative poems.
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