by Dianne Avey
A Poetry Box Chapbook Prize (2018) Finalist
Sometimes our lives are divided in two — the before and the after. Insert something in between that is so profound, and it feels as if your very molecules are rearranged. For Dianne Avey, this was the day her soul left her body in search of her deceased husband. Impossible Ledges takes the reader on her journey through illness, death, visiting her husband in the afterlife, and returning to her ordinary life that will never be ordinary again.
About the Author
Dianne Avey lives in the Pacific Northwest where she is a fifth generation islander on Anderson Island. She writes poetry where she can, often on the ferry while commuting to her work as a Nurse Practitioner. Her poems and essays have appeared in Wrist Magazine, Pulse, The Poeming Pigeon, Intima and several others. For six years, she has organized a successful summer writing retreat on Anderson Island.
Dedicated to her young son, Impossible Ledges is a poetry memoir, which tells the chronological true story of love and loss, using her natural seaside surroundings as solace and inspiration.
What They’re Saying…
Dianne Avey’s luminous poetic memoir of romance and grief beautifully mixes the images and ambience of island life into a portrait of hearts merging and tearing apart. With excruciating intimacy and precision, she describes “the library of mussels” that mingles memory and sensation into “the opus of an island spring.” All lovers of the Pacific Northwest will find fragments of their own heart in Avey’s testimony to how her late husband is present in the ebb and flow of life on Anderson Island.
~ Dr. William C. “Liam” Corley
Professor of American Literature
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
The lovely nature imagery in Dianne Avey’s poems, the tender domestic details and the images of her young son whose father is dying evoke the bittersweet nature of our earthly lives. Avey’s journey in poetry is not only one of mourning but is also one that seeks and finds a light that nurtures.
~ Sheila Bender, author
Behind Us the Way Grows Wider: Collected Poems 1980-2013
Impossible Ledges belongs on the shelf with Tennyson’s In Memoriam. Dianne Avey’s poems of grief and consolation are that true and that tender, “small and lovely headstones” that bear “the certain weight of stars.” Read them slowly, gratefully, and you will respond with “reverence, / astonishment / and praise” to the gift of her words and the greater gift of life ongoing.
~ Paul J. Willis, author
Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades
In Impossible Ledges by Dianne Avey, we explore illness in the body of poems. Here in this chapbook, poetry becomes memoir and memoir becomes the poems we need to keep close. Poignant and honest, Avey explores loss and the temporariness of this world, “feeling only the certain weight of stars / in an uncertain life.” Each tender poem in this love story brings us in and makes us ask, “Where do these remnants go, / the silt of love?” Avey’s poems bring us into the moment in beautifully heartbreaking ways.
~ Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Hourglass Museum
Told in the nautical language of an island dweller, these tender poems tell a woman’s love story, from first love, marriage, birth of a son, illness and death of her husband, and, finally, her painful emergence into new life. Saturated with the beauty of nature on land and sea, poignant and starkly real, these poems leave you feeling nourished and full.
~ Glenna Cook, author of Thresholds
(finalist, Washington State Book Award for poetry)
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