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Weaving a New Eden Paperback – March 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Wind Publications (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193613828X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936138289
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.3 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,372,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sherry Chandler transports us back to the 1700's as she explores the history of Kentucky--"a new Eden"--and her own roots there. She tells the untold stories of her mother and grandmothers, as well as those of the legendary Rebecca Boone and her daughters and friends. Rebecca, we are told, "undertook to weave, she undertook to house / and clothe her children, dance the treadles in figured linen. / She undertook to throw her shuttle, Kentucky as the loom." Chandler does her own kind of weaving in this collection as she blends history and invention. We see the historian's love of information and research. We see the poet's facility with craft and love of language. We see a skillful blend of narrative and lyric elements. Using what she knows about her women, Chandler imagines their voices and lets them speak. These voices weave a complex and lovely tapestry. Another engaging aspect of this collection is its variety of forms--pantoums, sonnets, sestinas, a glosa. Chandler likes series. She gives us one consisting of acrostics and another consisting of found poems that pose as postcards. She ends the collection with an exquisite sonnet crown that moves us into the present, to the poet's own marriage and life in Kentucky, her own Eden.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sherry Chandler's Weaving a New Eden breaks the expectations of what a collection of poems typically achieves. Individually, the poems function on many levels--history, family narratives, lyrics--thus appealing to a wide audience. But the true accomplishment of this book is that each poem works in concert with the others, enriching the collection as a whole.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Weaving a New Eden by Sherry Chandler

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:
"Last chance,"
he says,
"to claim what you want."

I break a branch,
a blossom
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.
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Format: Paperback
Chandler weaves Rebecca Boone, history and family into form: sestina, villanelle, acrostic, pantoon, blank verse. The grand finale, a crown sonnet, ends in her own back yard. The skill, beauty, and creativity in these ninety-six pages is breathtaking. Thanks to Wind for publishing this and to Sherry for writing it.
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