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"Anyone who can get through a newspaper," Jeanne Murray Walker says, "will find this book a piece of cake." Indeed, the poems in this book are strong but unpretentious pieces rich in meaning and feeling.
The poems in New Tracks, Night Falling acknowledge that we are people driven and divided by fear. They talk about racism, war, loss, greed, alienation, our disregard of the earth, and our disregard of each other. Sometimes we feel like night is falling in the bright light of day. Yet we get glimpses of hope, of what could be:
In this dark time I want to make light bigger,
to toss it in the air like a pizza chef,
to stick my fists in, stretching it
till I can get both arms into radiance above the elbow
and spin it above us.
Hope continually threads its way through these poems. We hear its voice as Walker writes about choices -- both those we make and those beyond our making.
And we feel hope rising like bread when Walker focuses on the gifts of potential, resolution, mercy, joy -- the new tracks that we can make in fresh snow, on old paths, along the roads more or less traveled. These are stays against the falling night.
With a keen eye for both physical and emotional detail, Walker explores a journey that all of us are on, and she does so in a way that speaks to our deep fears and deeper joys, that engages and inspires. Tempering somber notes with more joyful ones, she reminds us of the good things, great and small, that are still possible in this world.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Jeanne Murray Walker is the author of six previous collections of poetry, including A Deed to the Light and Coming into History, and is a professor of English at the University of Delaware, where she has taught for thirty years. Among her awards are an NEReview:
"These are documents, anecdotes, testimonies of a mind alert to subtle textures, a mind that is eager, willing, confident that significance should be witnessed in every detail."
Leslie Leyla Fields
"Yes, night falls in these poems, I am glad to say. But we're in the company of a bold woman with a stout flashlight — who somehow, wondrously, reveals a path through the wood thats as brilliant in the dark as it is in the light. I think I would follow Jeanne Murray Walker anywhere."
"Good poems are fresh ways of seeing. Here's Adam, quickly disillusioned with Eve for naming the yak the yak and singing off-key, yet learning to love what he's been given.' The Nativity scene, familiar to millions as the Silent Night,' is here for Mary the bleeding of the Infinite into that barn . . . as God came ripping through.' Such poems supply the faith-deep, myth-deep underpinnings for the book's rich sense of the ordinary and the now: grief for a friend who died, a child's hands, a bee, driving behind a sixteen-wheeler, rain, hearing the cry of a bird with the sky / caught in its throat.' Jeanne Murray Walker leaves her readers with the feeling of enormous power held in reserve only by the true instincts of a superb artist. This is her finest book."
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