This review was originally reviewed for Salem’s Statesman Journal.
Wellstone Press; First edition (May 9, 2014)
Paperback: 80 pages
Besides being an award-winning novelist and popular blogger, Susan Clayton-Goldner is an accomplished poet whose work has appeared in literary journals for decades. In her poetry, she ably combines her strength in creating character with vivid imagery and musical lines. This year, finally, her heartfelt poems have been gathered into her first poetry collection, a question of mortality, published by Wellstone Press.
Breaking with convention, all the words in the title, the question of mortality, begin with lowercase letters. Perhaps this symbolizes how mortality humbles us. On the cover, a black background frames a woman in a dark room. Dressed in black with her back to the reader, the central figure seems shadowed by tragedy.
In the poems, as in the cover art, there is a sense that tragedy has transformative effects. Hints of resilience appear in the poem “An Eternity of Hope.” After the mention of a brother’s “suicide” and “pain” like “broken glass,” “hope” does “simmer.” The speaker’s grief never disappears, but a daffodil poking up from “frosted earth” signifies beauty coming back like “flames” rekindled
Read my complete review of A Question of Mortality on the Statesman Journal’s website.