Janet Edmonds’s debut poetry collection from Sea Crow Press, Small Craft, seeks to answer two fundamental questions regarding the relationship between language and setting:
Is it possible to capture the essence of a certain place with words?
How is one able to properly articulate the aspects that define a space or a place, and implement language to reflect the attributes at the core of a location?
These poems immerse readers in the sights, sounds, and experiences that encapsulate a life in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. From the spring tides “disporting with each new and full moon, / tuned to waxing lunar cycles” to the sand where “each page of wind and ice grinds out / …eroded fossils, rocks, and minerals” to the rainbow’s “ascension of raindrops refracting reflections / of ages and places traversing the harbor,” no aspect of the natural landscape remains untouched or forgotten by Edmonds. Cycling through the seasons to present a rich image of a place during all walks of life, the reader goes on a journey from the “Dogwood, cherry, lilac blossom, petal” of the spring to the “Light streaks of long nights’ shooting stars” of the winter solstice. Time has no influence on this place, for no matter the time of year or how much time has passed since setting foot in this landscape, there is a certainty in the continuous beauty. “Across the dunes, the Province Lands: / Roiling crests crash the swash,” she writes, “and mulct the shore of every trace / Of time / And tracks / And tendered hand.” Edmonds’ poetry is a beautiful testament to the nature of Cape Cod, and the way she implements language to highlight the aspects which enhance the individuality and uniqueness of her chosen place makes her reader feel like they are coming home – or discovering home for the first time.
Small Craft by Janet Edmonds. Sea Crow Press, March 2022.
Reviewer bio: Catherine Hayes is a graduate student in English at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts and resides in the Boston area. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Blood & Thunder: Musings of the Art of Medicine, Atticus Review, NewPages, and an anthology with Wising up Press. She can be found on Twitter @Catheri91642131