Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (September 7, 2022)
“We are not this flesh we call ourselves…/this seeming solid self only the sounding bell.//Yet the world’s beauty is ours/to bear, and the austere does not call.” Exactly. Again and again in this stirring collection, Arlene Distler limns the transitory, even illusory nature of human experience, its joys and griefs; yet with a winning stubbornness, she treasures that experience and manages both to meet and to transcend its challenges. Consider her moving testimony to a friend who shares with the poet certain painful recalls of girlhood: “We did not cauterize the wounds/but defied them like those fire-eaters who swallow flame/ but are not burned by it.” Again, exactly. That defiance, often exuberant, makes of This Earth, This Body an exemplum for human resilience.
Sydney Lea is a past Poet Laureate of Vermont (2011-2015). His thirteenth collection of poems, Here, was published in 2019 by Four Way Books.
Arlene Iris Distler’s new book of poems, This Earth, This Body sings the body electric. Love, death and the pulse of daily life conjoin here in the deep presence of Distler’s care. She is a communal poet drawing us in with imagistic language and sensuous dance.
Terry Hauptman is a poet and painter. Her seventh volume of poetry, Fallen Angels, will be out in Fall of 2022.
In This Earth, This Body, poet Arlene Iris Distler celebrates the breadth of experience. “The day bud’s last flower,” she writes, “is all I need of the hour.” With wonder and satisfaction she composes poems of memories, childhood, illness, death, and sex. This Earth, This Body is a Vermont late-summer harvest, the poems lit by the inspiration of shortening days and Distler’s splendid revelations.
Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst and Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems
Reading Distler’s collection is like poring over unmatted, unframed watercolor sketches. Each poem is a picture on the surface, yet the pigment seeps deep and the images float beyond the margins.
Charles Butterfield is a retired professor of Biology and English. His poems have appeared in small-press journals and in his books, Another Light and Field Notes.