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Distributed for CavanKerry Press

In the River of Songs

A poetic meditation on life, loss, and legacy.
“So what lasts?” asks the speaker in the poem “El Anatsui.” This is the central question of Susan Jackson’s new collection In the River of Songs. Jackson is a poet dedicated to exploring the mysteries of what it means to be fully human in a world where love, loss, pain, and joy are irrevocably nested together. These poems seem to answer that whatever does last is not easily defined; maybe only the intangible qualities of heart, perseverance, generosity of spirit, and moments when the poet is suddenly anchored in appreciation for “the ever-flowing fullness of the world.” Readers will be touched by the intimate beauty of the poems in this new volume.

80 pages | 6 x 9


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“Susan Jackson’s poems are gifts to the reader’s heart and soul, expertly fashioned from language memory, and spiritual insight. While not veering away from the challenges that arise in life—deaths and other losses—each poem ultimately arrives at grace. Their progression charts one woman’s journey on the river of her life, welcoming us into significant personal moments and bringing us into the wisdom of maintaining presence in the face of whatever arises. Naming trees, birds, and the tender moments of a wise woman’s witness, In the River of Songs offers you a journey you will long remember and honor.”

Donna Baier Stein, founder and publisher of 'Tiferet Journal'

“Susan Jackson’s latest collection, In the River of Songs, is redolent of love for family and the natural world. From ‘the quaking aspens in the distance’ to ‘the long call of the ravens’ engaging with these poems is a spiritual exercise — one comes away from them as one might from meditation or prayer.”

Elliot Figman, author of 'Big Spring'

“With quiet intimacy, Jackson’s poems invite the reader into a contemplative space, a pause in the whirl of life. Through a lens of wonder, she captures the mystical in the ordinary, making altar pieces out of the sudden moment of seeing. Some poems are like a rocking cradle, others have fearsome moments that break into the lush inner world. There are flashes of wild joy. Some poems pack a fierce wallop like ‘Quicksilver.’ Others like ‘Letter Home’ encourage me to wonder, what is flowing through me, shaping me like a river? Woven among her collection are love songs, like ‘Ode to a Boiled Egg.’ These poems remind me to pause and listen: how is this moment unlike any other? Jackson the poet is here, like Emily Dickinson saying, ‘Tell the truth but tell it slant.’ As she acknowledges our fragility, Jackson reminds us of the beauty that surrounds. If I had only one of these poems to guide me through life it would be ‘Pausing Below Inspiration Point, Jenny Lake.’ In its long title is wisdom for a lifetime. And a poem I would give my caretakers of the end of my life, ‘Instructions for Comfort Care.’”

Raechel Bratnick, author of 'Awakening the Dreamer' and 'The Likelihood of Dawn'

“For me In the River of Songs is a collection of cleansing experiences like gentle rain on a parched garden. Everyday details illumine moments and offer surprises which hold and refresh the present. The poem ‘Perseid Meteor Showers’ concludes with the lines ‘a dazzling gift/all because you came outside.’ Reading these poems is coming outside to find a dazzling gift.”

Reverend Suzanne Love Harris, author of 'Lasting'

“Jackson’s new collection ignites the reader with a vibrancy that expands who you thought you were. These deeply moving poems invite you to a place underneath the words, fully alive with its own rhythm. She is the song, the artist, nature and the ordinary, the prayer in both the everyday and the mysterious sacred. Life, death, and the veil in between. . . so near, like a whisper. These poems will live in you for a long time after reading them.”

Reverend Margaret “Bambi” Koeniger

"Arranged in three sections, In the River of Songs offers readers a quiet elegance and contemplative beauty through personal treatment of the collective spirit. The poems are rich in imagery and are sonically vibrant... Hopeful, powerful, and abundantly uplifting, the poems in this collection address a range of emotions in a grounded and intelligent way."

Tiferet Journal

Table of Contents

I. Echo of the Former World

The Woman Who Loved Trees
All The Light In-Between
What I Heard My Mother Say Before I Was Born
Pausing Below Inspiration Point, Jenny Lake
A Hundred Ravens
El Anatsui
From Under The Eaves
Making Beds
The Funnel
The Story of Light
Perseid Meteor Showers
Pockets Full of Stones
A Poem is the Sky

II. Early on the River

So Big Was Her Kindness
Rain, Higuera Blanca
Letter Home
The Glass Bottom Boat of the Mind
On the Death of a Childhood Friend
What Goes Among The Things That Change
Mother in the Alzheimer’s Wing
Benediction of the Four Birds
Let It Be Felt The Painter Was There
My Body

III. Haying Time

Anything With Wings
The Nourishment of Childhood
John Henry
Ode to a Boiled Egg
Song II, Punta del Burro
Instructions for Comfort Care
Offering of the Bear Paw Bowl
Doing the Jigsaw Puzzle
What If Every Poem Were A Prayer

With Thanks

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