Book Review: Sway
Reviewed by Toni Woodruff
Like a meadow, like the wind, like you
I couldn’t explain to you my excitement to find this book in my inbox. A book in love with Pennsylvania nature? I live here. I long for each and every moment to be outside, to take in the ways the earth continues to make us.
And along comes Sway, a poetry collection that can place me in a field or on the porch or on the earth somewhere in PA—that which can give me the time to appreciate what’s alive around and within us. This collection is a mood—and a good one at that.
It’s a pleasure to sit in these words for a while. Say you’re cooped up in your house, in the heart of a rainy or overhot or too buggy day. With this slim volume, you can transport yourself to the grass in the sun, to the wind, to the trees and the birds and squirrels.
Sway is a terrific porch companion—to give yourself the time to be outside and to feel outside and to read the words of someone else outside, in their world, on our world, who is experiencing the same and different moments as us.
It’s a connection—what we have in the world together—and this book is a reminder of it, an ode to it.
The book starts off strong with the titular poem, “Sway.” It’s a soft and quiet and sunny day with just the right amount of rhythm. Nature is a collection of all things happening; this poem, along with many others throughout the book, names those things, offers the senses that come along too, and in such a smooth way that we feel a part of it.
And of course—nature isn’t nature without us, so Sway incorporates a number of human-influenced sounds and actions in addition to the non-human nature stuff. Some poems breeze by quickly and easily, some potentially too easy, and others like “Traveler” linger and demand a second read. Lucky for us, it might be even better the second time around.
“A time of plenty in the open wild
Rush out, breath in the audible peace
Palms open receive
And give share in the bounty
Of promises keeping and growth steeping
To the color of amber.”
With my ever-developing infatuation with nature comes more and more books about nature, and what I enjoy most is the ability to learn more from people who have been attune to its wonder for longer than I have. This isn’t exactly Sway’s impact here. It’s more of a book of the nature of the ordinary—the things we all notice, not necessarily the things we don’t know about that are happening at the same time. At times, I wish I could have seen what I can’t see with nature expertise from the poet, but the mood is worth it all the same.
It doesn’t matter if you’re outside or inside, summer or winter, rain or sun—this collection will be a welcome sight on any nature lover’s nightstand.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Genre: Poetry / Nature
Print Length: 108 pages
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