cover image From May Sarton's Well: Writings of May Sarton

From May Sarton's Well: Writings of May Sarton

May Sarton, Author, Edith Royce Schade, Editor, Edith Royce Schade, Photographer Papier-Mache Press $20 (18p) ISBN 978-0-918949-52-3

Schade took Sarton's statement of her delight ``in light, solitude, the natural world, love, time, and creation itself'' as an organizing principle for this volume, which combines selections from Sarton's writing with Schade's photographs. Many of the photographs depict the landscape of New England, where Sarton lives; however, as Schade notes, Sarton does not see herself as ``a nature poet.'' In fact, she is a metaphysical poet for whom the ``natural'' world includes consciousness itself. Many of the photographs are too placid, having the familiar look of a New England calendar, to capture Sarton's complex view of her solitary, contemplative life: for this writer, ``loneliness is the poverty of the self,'' and yet ``solitude is the richness of the self.'' But since ``at any moment solitude may put on the face of loneliness,'' solitude offers a delicate balance and a danger. Whether she is writing about nature or relationships, a tension exists between contemplation and engagement. Some sense of Sarton's ``intimate order'' does comes through-particularly in the casual, sometimes mundane photographs of the author and her home contained in the afterword. (Nov.)