The Night I Heard Everything by Mary Carroll-Hackett

Disclosure: Mary has taught as guest faculty in my MFA program and I have met her personally.

This collection opens with the title poem “The Night I Heard Everything,” in which the speaker recalls a time when an unnamed person made an explanation that opened up the world. Its sets the tone for the rest of the book, with topics from the personal (love and lovemaking, family) to the external (science, history, nature) and a tone of wondering, admiring awe and hope. There are also repeating images and themes of women’s experiences and intergenerational ties, and connection to place, which of course speaks to me. The speaker’s loved ones are in several cases gone, but also everpresent, because (in the final line of “Someday the Woman You Will Be”) “there are, in fact, no endings, no endings after all.” There is mourning but there is continuation; these poems are concerned with ancestry, inheritance and what is passed on. They are mystical but also embodied – I love how Mary writes about love, as in “Here, Touch Here” and “Dark Brown Is My Favorite Shape.” This is a neat, brief poetry collection, easy to read at least in terms of its length, but also lots to linger in.

Rating: 7 glasses of tea.

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