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Weaving a New Eden Paperback – March 15, 2011
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The book opens with personal lyrics of the Prologue, moves into an imagined history of the poet's family in The Grandmothers, digs deeper into history in the poems of The Frontier, and returns to the present and the lyric to close the book with the beautiful and flawless sonnet crown, The North Yard.
Many of the poems are historical. But this is not the stuffy history resigned to textbooks. In Sherry Chandler's hands, characters come to life on the page. Persona poems bring forth the lives of women who have been silenced heretofore, and the poems transform that silence into song.
The poems provide an unflinching look at rural Kentucky, traveling back in time to life on the frontier. Rebecca Boone, who receives a large amount of the attention in The Frontier section, tells us "I was giving birth to ten children / and a nation." Sherry Chandler imagines Rebecca as a weaver, and as Rebecca weaved clothing for her family, the poet weaves a new mythology. With skill, Sherry Chandler uses intricate forms--sestina, pantoum, sonnet crown--to weave language across the page.
In the sestina "Rebecca Boone Weaves a New Eden," a form that weaves the same six end words through each stanza, Sherry Chandler takes the metaphor to its apex, ending with:
Rebecca undertook to weave, she undertook to house
and clothe her children, dance the treadles in figured linen.Read more ›
Sherry Chandler is a high caliber poet and author of two chapbooks: Dance the Black-Eyed Girl is #13 in the New Women's Voices series from Finishing Line Press and My Will and Testament Is on the Desk is #4 in FootHills Publishing's Poets on Peace Series. Weaving a New Eden is her first full-length book of poetry.
Weaving a New Eden takes us back to the beginnings of Kentucky, back to 1774 with Daniel and Rebecca Boone. I have lived my entire life in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, home of the first permanent settlement West of the Alleghany Mountains, founded by James Harrod, but visited by Daniel and Rebecca Boone and their family. The poems in this powerful book interrelate with the female heritage of Chandler and the frontier life faced by Rebecca Boone.
One of my favorite poems is "No More" because it reminds me of the death of my mother. Although my mother was 65 and Chandler's was 91, the similarities of their deaths haunted me. Watching a parent, especially a mother, take a last breath is always hard, even if it comes at the end of a long illness. While many relatives may rush to claim treasures after the funeral, the last lines of this poem reverberated through me because it is similar to what I did when my own mother died:
"to claim what you want."
I break a branch,
from the hard winter pear.
"The Grandmother Acrostics" is a legacy of recollections from the women of Chandler's past: Lettice, born ca 1774, who kept a Kentucky tavern; Lydia Simpson ca 1799, whose father kept a public house; Ambie W. True, October 1870, had seven children; Katherine B.Read more ›