on August 8, 2010
I received Julie Cadwallader-Staub's poetry collection, Face to Face, as a gift. And what a gift it is. This is the first collection of poetry I completed,cover to cover and linearly, in more than twenty years. I love poetry, but indulge in it sparingly, like the two milkshakes only I allow myself every summer. But this collection wouldn't let me go until I was finished, every word read - and so many re-read. Despite the harrowing thread of her husband's death running through them, none of the poems were self-indulgent (for which anyone would have forgiven the author) or sentimental in a predictable or maudlin way. Neither was this widow-to-be delicate in her depiction of fear and pain and desperation - rather, we read transfixed as she stares unblinking and unyielding into the face of grief. This collection is relevant not only to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one; these poems speak to all of us. Perhaps it is ironic - or intentional - that my favorite poem is among her shorter ones, tucked nearly half-way through the collection, called Hope. Who better to inspire us about hope than someone who could have tossed it away long ago? I'm so glad she didn't.
on January 18, 2016
Oh wow, this book of poems is very very good. Guaranteed waterworks, especially if you, a friend or family member are battling cancer. I sought out this book after hearing the poem "Joy" on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. Such a profound poem. The rest of the book follows suit. Each poem is well written and achingly on point for the struggles we face with sickness and hardship. I highly recommend!
on June 27, 2010
Julie Cadwallader-Staub lost her beloved husband, Warren, to multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that weakens the bones. In Face to Face, she invites us into the early days after his diagnosis, the days of disbelief when their love for each other--already solid and deep--became more focused: "if your eyes were not so brown and kind/if your hands were not so warm and knowledgeable" (from "In Your Eyes). Yet even as she focuses on her love, Cadwallader-Staub reveals intimacies in her poems that are universal. We walk hand in hand as the family navigates treatments, pain and the moments found in day-to-day living.
These poems do not wallow in self-pity but gleam with poignancy, honesty and faith. Even as they bring tears, they bring laughter, for here Cadwallader-Staub shares not only her crushing sadness but her joy of life, not only Warren's struggle, but his humanity.
I fell in love with this book from its first poem, and immediately read the first two sections, saving the final chapter for the next day. I traveled with Cadwallader-Staub from diagnosis to death, from grieving toward healing. Now, having read the whole journey, I open the book and savor where I land, absorbing the moment she so fully has laid before me.
on July 3, 2010
The copy of Face to Face that I ordered arrived today and I have read it cover to cover, knowing that I will return to it many times. True poetry touches the soul of each and every person who experiences it. Face to Face has touched my soul, through tears and laughter and tears again. I hang onto the hope that "takes root in the cracks between today and tomorrow." I take strength from "let me be light for you" and "Anything is possible in this world." I thank the author for giving me the feeling of touching fire, and the sense of being fully alive in the Spirit in its aftermath.
on June 18, 2010
This is an absolutely beautifully written book, filled with heart, love and humor. The author wrote these poems during her beloved husband's courageous battle with cancer. I promise that even if these struggles are not your own, you will find many things about life, love and family that you will relate to, that will touch your heart, and that will move you. And yes, even in the midst of heartbreak, the author will make you smile and laugh. There are poems in here that will stay with you for a long time. It is a lovely, lovely book.
on July 19, 2010
These poems of Julie's journey with her beloved husband's diagnosis, treatment and finally death from cancer are both delicate and strong. I cried and laughed and cried some more and then experienced wonder while reading the poems. I read them again and again and savor their elegance. Her incorporation of nature into her poetry and her writing style remind me of Emily Dickinson, who is a favorite of mine.
I bought a second copy to give away and I think I'll be buying more. I want to share this with all my friends.
on November 15, 2014
Moving, insightful, poignant -- these are the words I would use to describe this collection of poetry. Ms. Cadwallader-Staub captures the ordinariness of deep tragedy in little gems of verse, from her children's distraction through teenage infatuation in the midst of impending death to the frustration of missing bill payments due to intense caregiving for a loved one. Each poetic insight helps to frame the perspective that life goes on, even when it's about to end or change traumatically. The mundane feeds into the profound and both are best addressed by an undaunted human spirit and faith in a power greater than ourselves. A truly wonderful collection.
on July 3, 2010
I absolutely LOVE this book!!! I have read it through at least six times and have now purchased more copies. I have already given one to my each of my neighbors, sent one to a group of high-school friends, and plan to bring one to read to my brother as he recovers following surgery for cancer. I think it should be the perfect medicine- such depth of feeling and such tender, sometimes humorous insight! It renews my faith
on July 1, 2010
The words from Face to Face provide beautiful and elegant expressions of how even the darkest moments of human existence cannot overcome the joy of our natural world and an unshakeable faith. This book of poems is a masterpiece of the beauty that every heart craves.
on October 1, 2011
This is a touching, poignant collection of poetry. The writer responds thoughtfully and openly to personal life and death issues. Additional descriptors: sensitive, inspirational, divine.)