Her House and Other Poems – Book Recommendation

poetTitle: Her House and Other Poems

Written by: Donna Marie Merritt

Cover art by: Wendell Minor

Published by: Stairwell Books, 2013

Themes/Topics: family, nature, gratitude, fragility

Suitable for ages: 15+

Adult poetry, 64 pages

Snippet:

NOW                                                                                                                                   Piano, bought used,                                                                                                            could stand tuning                                                                                                                 we can not afford                                                                                                                 Shelves rest nearby                                                                                                      rescued from oblivion                                                                                                          when they closed your office                                                                                                    Is this what poor feels like?                                                                                                   Now                                                                                                                                       One child plays                                                                                                                      Clair de la Lune                                                                                                                     One child fills shelves                                                                                                            With her art                                                                                                                             No,                                                                                                                                         This is what rich feels like                                                                                                      Her House ©Donna Marie Merritt and Stairwell Books

Synopsis: 

In Her House and Other Poems, Donna elevates the ordinary to a place of wonder. A collection of 56 poems, some short, some long, a smorgasbord of fine reflections and detailed moments in daily life: a good glass of cabernet, how a whale can wow an iPhone-scotched teen, a stormy summer New England weekend, goring older…. all seasoned with a hefty splash of gratitude and appreciation. Meatier subjects like facing job-loss, the fragility of our lives vis-à-vis nature…. are brought to the table and delicately presented.

Why I like This Book:

I read all these poems aloud, as one must. These are poems that touch the soul and tackle issues, mundane and human, and near and dear to us. They are not lofty, but personal and at times provoking, thus one wants to hold them close, with absorb their passion and compassion. The language is artful with playful, careful use of rhythm and rhyme, echoing the ebb and flow of the text/story of each poem. NOW, quoted above in its entirety, embodies a recurring theme of gratitude and perspective in these poems, which I love.

I particularly enjoyed also the perceptive observations about nature. Poems on the natural world are used often to explore different, deeper meanings. In Dust, for example, Donna challenges our interpretation of simple things!

If God keep keeps putting it in
front of us, over and over,
in plain sight, maybe we
are missing something?

This collection of poems would be a great gift for someone who thinks/says she/he doesn’t like poetry, as I am convinced this short tome would rapidly convert their misgivings. They remind me of the psalms: a book of poetry about the problems of humanity, gritty yet cloaked in the sacred! These are poems, which cause the reader to respond with, “Yes, yes, I know that feeling!”

Resources:

  • Donna Marie Merritt writes for children and adults and you can find out more about the author from her website.
  • I also did an interview with her on the blog, which you can find here.
  • Hickory Stick Bookshop is the only place left with copies of each of Donna’s books since the books sold out quickly (HER HOUSE; WHAT’S WRONG WITH ORDINARY?; CANCER, A CAREGIVER’S VIEW; and JOB LOSS, A JOURNEY IN POETRY.) HER HOUSE is available on their website but you’d need to call about the others (860-868-0525). If you tell Hickory Stick you’d like them personalized to you, Donna will be happy to take a drive and sign them before they mail them out.

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7 Responses to Her House and Other Poems – Book Recommendation

  1. Thank you, Joanna, for such kind words!

  2. What a beautiful collection of deeply personaly poems. They also feel very contemporary in that the deal with daily life. Your review really gives one a sense of Donna’s work.

  3. Bobbi Miller says:

    What a nice review, as always. Thoughtful and distinguished. I also really loved this collection by Donna. You two are the very best!

  4. Joanna says:

    I so want to read other poetry collections written by Donna now!

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