Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Introducing Heather Truett's Felicities

It's appropriate that Heather Truett has titled her new collection of poems Felicities. Dedicated to her late friend Natalie Rose York, whose own blog was called Friday Felicities, Truett's newly published book of poetry celebrates the things, large and small, that bring her happiness: friendship, her sons at play, the colors of umbrellas on a beach in summer, a card that sparks laughter that cannot be mimicked in words, the taste of honey, the way butter melts on cornbread, a childhood memory that connects her to her mother's love of Elvis Presley.

Though she describes herself as "Wordy Girl", Truett writes compactly, most of her poems barely filling half a page and some no more than five or six or seven lines long. Her verse is largely unadorned, her imagery rendered in straightforward yet effective similes, as in "Needs", where she writes that "The purple in the glass / is like a plum. / . . . Green panes, / like an olive grove. . . ." 

Truett's felicities find their anchor in comfortable and familiar domestic scenes: at home "where / mom keeps 'cut-knife' cheese in the fridge / and makes fried cornbread" and "you can snatch shoes / from your sister's closet / and eat vanilla custard pies / baked from scratch" ("Home Is Where"); at the local coffee shop with its "free magazines" and "painted tables / suede chair cushions / against dark wood" ("Espresso Cafe"); and in the abiding sense of homecoming, as in her poem "Homecoming", in which Truett describes how, after being away a week, "my whole world shifted" on seeing how her loved one "turned slightly / to face me / as I came inside":

His eyes and skin and smell
were just as I remembered them
and also 
brand new.

My heart split in two
and made room

to love him even more.

Although Truett at times tends toward explaining instead of letting imagery carry her meaning, her poems are nonetheless appealing in their abiding appreciation for what can be taken from "each moment that  we're living" ("Each Brilliant Moment"). She threads time — past, present, and future — throughout her poems. For Truett, it's the moment that contains the felicity she's determined to isolate and celebrate.  On some days, it's enough that "the sunshine is softer / and the wind is somewhat sweeter" ("Enough"); on others, there's bittersweet recognition of time going too fast, that "this little boy [her son] / will be gone", married, with a family, and "three states away" ("A Few More Days"). 

There is also in Truett's poems the felicity of faith, of strong belief in "how things [are] meant to be" ("Warmth"). She recognizes and honors the  value of "[s]trong roots" and "[s]olitary acceptance" that precludes the need of "expectations for your life" ("Tree"). And, at the end, she's content to take her measure not in "waiting for tomorrow" through "[d]ark night" but "in the quiet", with eyes closed and feeling God ("We Are Home").

Truett's first poetry collection, Pencil Drawn and Paper Grown, which she describes as "poetry on faith, hope, love, and life through the eyes of a young woman in the South", is available through Lulu. Her new book is available at Amazon.

Heather Truett's Website

Heather Truett on Twitter


S. Etole said...

Just the cover warmly invites one to take a look ... your review confirms that invitation.

Anonymous said...

good review!

Laura said...

Oh, yay! I didn't know Heather had a new book out! How exciting. Sounds like a very good one too.

Thanks again, Maureen for keeping me abreast of all things poetry.