Now Is What Matters
by Janet Steward
A Finalist in the The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize 2023
Janet Steward became caregiver for her husband when memory loss joined his list of chronic conditions a few years ago. This moving collection of poems not only documents the couple’s journey, but it offers a source of insight, courage, and comfort. More than anything these poems teach us that the practice of love is a lifelong exercise, one that is rewarded with a beautiful, intimate dance for two.
Early Praise for Now Is What Matters:
Like colorful strands of yarn threaded across a loom, the poems in Janet Steward’s Now is What Matters stretch from loss to comfort and from grief to gift, weaving a rich tapestry depicting the full picture of caring for a partner suffering from memory loss. The constant thread—the longest and most vivid strand running through the poems—is love. “We will swim in its ocean,” Steward vows. Love, she states, will “feed us for the rest of our lives.” Steward bravely lives and beautifully writes poems of truth and wisdom. We are lucky to be warmed by the insight and courage of her words.
—Annie Lighthart, author of PAX
About the Author
Janet Steward took advantage of retirement to write, learn Spanish, and collect memories with her husband, Larry. She decided she wasn’t destined for a long-term relationship, but fortunately Larry convinced her to try again. Their age difference of sixteen years made being a caregiver a probability, but she was surprised to find deepening intimacy, affection, and personal growth far outweigh the frustrations and loss that come with that role.