Genealogy Lesson for the Laity

In this radiant debut collection, Cathryn Shea constructs a world as delicate, colorful, and sharp as an autumn leaf yet as stable as the ancient tree it's fallen from.
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One of the most alluring and powerful things about poetry is that it offers the poet the opportunity to say things indirectly, using the simple selection of words to make the ordinary magical. For example, there is the attention to detail in poems like "Drano Didn't Work," which chronicles the hiring of a drainage company to service the author's home. The same care is given to poems about bad hospital food and the dread of an unpleasant diagnosis or a dying friend. This collection of poems broaches these big and small eventualities of life with the same gravity, processing them with the same levity. It illustrates how the same coping tools can tackle any problem, and how a sardonic but compassionate view will find the silver lining in any challenge. The smallest adjustments in meter or vocabulary allow these poems to work flexibly through the eye of the reader. Each of the selections in this book can land a gut punch as heavy as a brick or flit about tragic events almost playfully. Such a duality is only possible through meticulous and precise writing. The author weaves her way through overseas atrocities, small-town Americana, and references to Scooby Doo with the same deftness. Every word is a receptacle for however much meaning the reader decides to fill it with. There still manages to be a voice and a message and meaning to these poems, giving the poet a platform to speak her mind and share her experiences. That razor's edge of difference between ambiguity and clarity breathes immense power into these poems and absolutely makes them a worthwhile read. RECOMMENDED

-- The US Review of Books (book review by Michael Radon)
Book Description:

In this radiant debut collection, Cathryn Shea constructs a world as delicate, colorful, and sharp as an autumn leaf yet as stable as the ancient tree it’s fallen from. Harnessing evocative imagery that illuminates the inherent spirituality within even the frailest human gestures, these poems reach across generations, genders, and cultures to give voice to the kind of unabashed gratitude that lights up our darkest edges.

Cathryn Shea (Author)
Cathryn Shea is the author of the full-length poetry book “Genealogy Lesson for the Laity” (Unsolicited Press, September 2020) and the poetry chapbooks “Backpack Full of Leaves” (Cyberwit, 2019), “Secrets Hidden in a Pear Tree” (dancing girl press, 2019), and “It’s Raining Lullabies” (dancing girl press, 2017). Cathryn’s poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and her poetry has appeared in anthologies and in many journals including Poet Lore, New Orleans Review, Tar River Poetry, Gargoyle, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. She was a merit finalist for the Atlanta Review 2013 International Poetry Competition. In 2004 she received the Marjorie J. Wilson Award for Poetry from MARGIE. Cathryn served as editor for Marin Poetry Center Anthology and she lives with her husband in Fairfax, CA. See
Dear Reader, author’s recently published book “Genealogy Lesson for the Laity” is now available on leading bookstores, get your copy now and help the author by writing a review of the book.
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