April is Poetry Month

I love chapbooks.
I love their smallness and their completeness, their ability to perfectly express a single idea or theme. I love their freedom, their unabashed desire for individuality and self-expression. And I love the artistry behind them. Chapbooks represent their authors beautifully—a welcome respite from big-box-blockbuster books and the world of Heather’s Pick.

Over the last few months, three chapbooks have landed on my desk. And since April is National Poetry Month, it’s the perfect time to show them off. My poet friend Janis McDougall was so drawn to Anna Eastland’s volume of poems that I asked her to share her reaction to the book.
Launching a series of three reviews, here is Jan’s thoughtful description:

Reading Anna Eastland’s collection of poems from her beautiful book, Unexpected Blossoming—a journey of grief and hope led me into her honest, vulnerable, and talented writing. Her therapeutic poetry also opened a personal portal which had long been curtained. Thirty-one years ago, my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at fourteen weeks.

With this published collection of her poems, Anna Eastland provides a gift. She, the one who was consoled, becomes the consoler. She has poetically documented the blissful beginnings of a new life developing in pregnancy followed by the shocking experience of the death of her baby daughter and the grief that ensues. The poems in this collection vary in form from “abab” rhyme schemes to free verse. I admired and appreciated the abundance of her poetic use of metaphors – from cats to caterpillars. In this collection, her strong spirituality is gently expressed through many prayer poems. I found the title poem, Unexpected Blossoming, to be very poignant and rich with explicit details. The final poem, Stardust, really intrigued me as I pondered the depths of life-after-death. To quote an excerpt from that poem:

Like the light of stars
shining for years,
sending light across the universe
long after the star has burnt out.

With Unexpected Blossoming—a journey of grief and hope, Anna Eastland offers consolation and invites readers to join a newly formed constellation of broken-hearts linked together by their collective grief. —Janis McDougall

More reviews coming up as poetry month continues…


These three beauties arrived in the last few months