cover image Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change

Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change

Maggie Smith. Atria, $24 (256p) ISBN 978-1-982132-07-1

Poet Smith (Good Bones) reflects on loss, beauty, and transformation in a thoughtful but not entirely satisfying collection. The slight volume compiles inspirational tweets—all concluding with the admonition to “keep moving”—that Smith began writing in the wake of a divorce. The messages are loosely organized into three parts (“Revision,” “Resilience,” and “Transformation”) and interspersed with short personal essays. When read individually, the bite-size sentiments succeed as wise and compassionate pieces of encouragement. But bound together in book format, they blur together and fail to leave much of an impression. The bland, minimalist design doesn’t do the work any favors, either. Meanwhile, the essays, which carry on the same themes, but add details of Smith’s own experiences, are uneven. While some rely on tired metaphors of transformation (fire, chrysalises), others have striking and memorable imagery that showcases Smith’s eye as a poet: “like when you pull your hand out of a bucket of water, and the water takes back the space.” Smith’s reflections on her struggles with miscarriage and postpartum depression are especially affecting. Readers will wish her obvious talents had been used in a way that does them justice. (May)