cover image To the Wren: Collected and New Poems

To the Wren: Collected and New Poems

Jane Mead. Alice James, $29.95 (600p) ISBN 978-1-948579-01-8

With lyric candor and emotional precision, Mead (World of Made and Unmade) offers her family history, meditations on loss and madness, and the landscape of California wine country in this collected volume. Bringing together seven collections written over three decades, this book makes room for the many facets of Mead’s talents to shine. Her father’s struggles with addiction—along with the profound impact these struggles have on her family—are documented in Mead’s debut collection and reconsidered after his death, leading to meditative exploration of grief and remembrance. Mead bears witness to her mother through a child’s eyes, then, decades later, through the slow process of her mother’s dying. A new poem asks “Do we ever really get to go beyond the story/ we were born to.” (For the speaker of these poems, the answer is a resounding no.) Still, the natural world, in its bounty and brutality, is a grounding force for Mead, a reminder of a time scale beyond the human span. In her commitment to representing experience faithfully, Mead engages fundamental questions about the nature of knowing. Through observation, philosophy, math, science, and prayer, the reader is witness to a mind that submits itself to the world with curiosity and humility in order to see things as they really are. [em](Aug.) [/em]