Tell Her Yes
by Ann Farley
Finalist in The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize, 2021
A drop of rain slips from leaf to ground, perhaps to river and beyond. Like rain’s journey, our lives twist and turn, hit dry stretches and unexpected turbulence, land on moments of beauty. Nurture and nature, with its solace and challenges, weaves through the poems in Tell Her Yes. Themes of love and parenthood, friendship, aging, dementia, and death wind through this collection like a river, while a heron keeps watch, and a crocodile lurks in the murk.
ENJOY A VIDEO OF ANN READING FROM THE BOOK:
Ann Farley— A Featured Poet on The Poetry Box LIVE (March 2022)
About the Author
Ann Farley, poet and caregiver, is happiest outdoors. She loves the beach, but she also enjoys an early morning walk in the park with her husband and dog. Her poems have appeared in Timberline Review, Willawaw Journal, Verseweavers, The Poeming Pigeon, KOSMOS Quarterly, RAIN Magazine, Gobshite Quarterly and others. Her poems have won first and third place in Oregon Poetry Association contests, and a third place Kay Snow Award for poetry. She lives in Beaverton, Oregon.
Early Praise for Tell Her Yes:
In Tell Her Yes, Ann Farley offers us lyric poems that speak the language of forgiveness, of patience, of humility and reverence. A number of these poems are about the natural world. A number are about her work giving palliative care. Given their compelling tone, all these poems are—in themselves—advocates for what’s palliative. Calling us toward our better selves, this collection asks us to see ourselves as capable of sustained generosity and kindness. Farley’s poems remind us that, like a beneficent river, “At our best we are an expanse of blue, / a shallow of nurture,” a haven for all whose lives touch ours.
—Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
This poet is a caretaker, and the strength of this collection is appreciation, both for the natural world and for the fragile humans aging within it. In the title poem we are instructed “Move the woman with dementia to a window. Ask her what she sees. Go with her. Tell her yes.” Ann Farley’s poems say a passionate and just occasionally humorous yes to beauty, to loss, to acceptance.
—Penelope Scambly Schott, author of Sophia & Mister Walter Whitman
Tell Her Yes, Ann Farley’s debut chapbook, is a braided river flowing with 27 carefully crafted poems that are both tender and wise, nurturing and consoling. Farley is a mother, caregiver, and nature-lover whose poems bear witness to some of life’s most poignant moments. Whether she is taking her autistic son for a walk in a wildlife sanctuary (“Bare Legs on Warm Wood”), bringing dahlias to a woman in rehab who is beyond speaking in sentences (“Dahlias”), or serving as a family’s sounding board, (“they talk to me about dying”), she fills her poems with pitch-perfect details that hit readers’ hearts and minds with the authority of one who knows. And, indeed, these poems reveal their creator’s firsthand knowledge of the journey into death as well as to the aliveness nature offers. When Farley writes in “Mourning,” Sometimes the best you can do/is nothing at all./ Sit with loss, and let it be, readers of this stunning collection will be tempted to tell her yes.
—Carolyn Martin, Ph.D., poetry editor
of Kosmos Quarterly: a journal for global transformation
Well now, what a gorgeous collection of poems by Ann Farley! Tell Her Yes is as fresh as a day’s rain in a dry season. Ann’s prose poetry speaks of life viewed through the inanimate nature of ecology and the animated nature of being human. Tell Her Yes will bring to mind the beautiful poetics of the late great Mary Oliver and the humanness found in the works of Oregon poet, Jennifer Richter. For certain, there are images in these poems that will surely capture every reader’s imagination. There is an old adage that says, “the proof is in the pudding.” What a fine pudding Ann Farley has made for lovers of life described poetically.
—Emmett Wheatfall, poet and author of Our Scarlet Blue Wounds