This week’s other featured books, “The Reporter,” by B.M. Simpson and “Amer5ican Wasteland: Stories,” by Alexander Sholom Joseph, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.
THE BOOK: Ordinary Splendor
PUBLISHED IN: April 2022
THE AUTHOR: Judith Waller Carroll
THE EDITOR: Lana Hechtman Ayers
THE PUBLISHER: MoonPath Press
SUMMARY: Ordinary Splendor is a collection of clear, lyrical poems that use ordinary experiences like walking in the woods, spreading mulch and making soup on a rainy day to reveal deeper stories that span a lifetime.
THE BACK STORY: I compiled the poems in this book during the lockdown of 2020, just a few months after a cross-country move to live closer to our son and his family. The collection is a combination of older poems written when we lived at the edge of the woods and new poems written during the pandemic that reflect the difficulty of isolation in an unfamiliar place. Fortunately, I could get outside and walk on a nearby nature trail, which is my answer to everything and also helps explain why there are often birds flying in and out of the pages.
WHY THIS TITLE: The title poem, “Ordinary Splendor,” was inspired by a Thomas Merton quote, “Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things.” As I compiled the poems for the book, I realized that quote fit as a theme for the book.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: In contrast to the gloom that seems to permeate our culture these days, the poems in Ordinary Splendor turn our focus to hope and beauty without flinching from reality and demonstrate the power of the natural world to heal and of light to overcome darkness
“In Ordinary Splendor, Judith Waller Carroll opens our eyes to the beauty in the ordinary scenes we see out our window and repeat in our homes every day. . . She balances the calmness and chaos of life with poems that describe the sections, “A Dream of Deep Water,” “An Inventory of Trees,” “My Heart is a Tangle of Colors,” ”When We Lived Among the Birds,” and “Ordinary Splendor.” . . .But it is Carroll’s poems about family that most touch our hearts: “My Mother’s Earrings,” “My Father’s Hard Luck Cases,” and “Zee” about “this sweet boy, son of our son,/ his eyes wide at this world/ he doesn’t yet have the words to describe” The book is full of ordinary and extraordinary moments we can all savor long after we close the book.” — –5 star Amazon review/
“Reading (Ordinary Splendor) is like viewing paintings in a gallery. The images are rich and detailed, the reader feels present in her settings. The individual poems are the observations of a seasoned poet, from perspectives that have been honed over a lifetime. The collection as a whole is a study in serenity.” — Stephen Parrish, author of The First 100 Words
“Judith Waller Carroll is a perceptive observer of both the human and nonhuman worlds. She is also a master of the brief lyric poem. Her precise images take hold and settle until the poem’s close, when they stab and sizzle.” — Andrea Hollander, Blue Mistaken for Sky
“Judith Waller Carroll’s gorgeous poetry . . . (reveals) the power the natural world has to transform and heal those who pay close attention to it.” — Iris Jamahl Dunkle, 2017-18 Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, CA
AUTHOR PROFILE: Judith Waller Carroll’s poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, published in numerous journals and anthologies, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She has one other full-length collection, What You Saw and Still Remember, runner-up for the 2017 Main Street Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks, The Consolation of Roses, winner of the 2015 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Prize, and Walking in Early September (Finishing Line Press, 2012).
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I once heard Billy Collins say in an NPR interview that a good poem starts in Kansas and ends in Oz. I hope these poems about ordinary people doing ordinary things take the reader to someplace splendid.
Links to a few poems from the book:
WHERE TO BUY IT: Ordinary Splendor is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound and other book outlets.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: email@example.com
Author website: https://moonpathpress.com/JudithWallerCaroll.htm