Leave-Taking

By Marilyn Potter

Leave-Taking
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Leave-Taking moves through stages of grief-- the reckoning, the remembering, the rituals-- after the sudden death of a spouse. The poems trace reflections on a long marriage, and what it is like to be left behind. The poems travel from Haida Gwaii on the west coast of Canada, ... Read more


Overview

Leave-Taking moves through stages of grief-- the reckoning, the remembering, the rituals-- after the sudden death of a spouse. The poems trace reflections on a long marriage, and what it is like to be left behind. The poems travel from Haida Gwaii on the west coast of Canada, across the mountains and into the prairie city of Winnipeg, to the beaches of Cape Cod; however, they stop often to rest in the quiet spaces found inside Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. Through these interspersed cemetery poems and epitaphs-- mini-stories in stone-- grief unfolds from many perspectives: praise and lament, love and disenchantment, hope and pain, faith and doubt. Above all, Leave-Taking is a tender love elegy; one that connects with anyone who has experienced deep loss.

Marilyn Potter

Marilyn Potter is an award-winning poet and writer living in Toronto. Her poems have appeared in both Canadian and international literary journals and anthologies, been translated into Japanese, and carved into stone in Vancouver’s Van Dusen Garden. Leave-Taking is her first poetry collection.

Reviews

"An impressive debut from a deeply observant poet, Leave-Taking explores the complexities of love, loss, and grief. Drawing upon music, art, nature, and place as points of departure, the poems alternate between recollection and attention to the present. The result is an evocative and engaging collection."
&mdashElena Johnson, author of Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra

"Marilyn Potter's Leave-Taking is an elegy sung in lyrics of layered tenderness and "hurt--sharp, like flint." Her poems, with eloquence that can hover in the lived moment's contradictions, search for "clarity [that] comes through enigmas" in memories of love and marriage. They are also keenly attentive to the world--to Himalayan pines in the Forest of Remembrance, the Coca-Cola bottle someone has left on a marble slab, to clouds "dark silver / --duct tape without the sheen." They show us how the world can hold our grief, its petals scattered under a willow, or lodged "in a holy pocket just above / where the trunk meets the earth." And they are poems with news of renewal, like that of the Tamarack "--all those needles / lying there on the ground / and every April / --like the Fool's surprise /... silky / slippery apple-green."
--Sue Chenette, author of Slender Human Weight and The Bones of his Being

--Sue Chenette, author of Slender Human Weight and The Bones of his Being

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