Wallace Stevens, in his poem “A Postcard from the Volcano,” writes, “left what we felt / at what we saw.” Patricia Clark’s stunning fourth poetry collection, Sunday Rising, is full of such moments, carefully wrought and mined for their resonance. Haunting human forms rise from the underworld, seeking to communicate, longing for connection. In language as resounding and evocative as the subjects it describes, Sunday Rising questions the past, human relationships, the meaning of loss, and the author’s own heritage. With landscapes as familiar as Michigan and as distant as the shores of Western Europe, these poems bring to light the cracks and fissures in our world, amid lyric exhalations rising like clouds above the birds, trees, and coastlines, language capturing the poet’s spiritual longing as well as moments of passion and sorrow. From the first poem to the last, an intimate relationship with the physical world emerges. Its teachings, consolations, utterances, and echoes comprise a sense of discovery. The ethereal and often spiritual practice of seeing and taking note is celebrated, whether this process yields gemstones or ore, or words wrought into the music and imagery of poetry.
Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University.