The Boston Globe’s “New England Literary News” section recently featured We Hold on to What We Can, a new book of poems by Sarah Alcott Anderson that is published by Loom Press. Here’s what the Globe wrote about Anderson’s book:
In her wise and elegant debut collection “We Hold on to What We Can” (Loom), Sarah Alcott Anderson reminds us of the simple rhythms, and the ripples that move backward and forward across time, touching us in the right now. Anderson, who chairs the English department at Berwick Academy in Maine and runs the Word Barn in New Hampshire, deposits us in landscapes geographic — New England, Ireland, woods, fields, front porches — and emotional. Her lines move with a powerful and understated ferocity. “We fall / and feel in charge / of something. Ourselves? / Our strong bodies?” In subtle ways, she shows the ways time moves and aims a lens on her childhood, and her children. A conversation continues so long that “voices scratch / the worn wooden table, until the ocean in our story / is far away.” These are tender poems, not soft, not sweet, but in seeming to work in opposition to a world that often seems to reject vulnerability; in that way, they pulse with strength. “We buried the shells. / We thought they were ours.” She makes us ask what belongs to us — everything? nothing? — and there is comfort in her distillation of registering loss: “as if we ever / fully endure / someone’s / turning to go.” These poems refocus our eyes, and realign the thing that moves inside us.
We Hold on to What We Can is available for purchase on the Loom Press website which describes the book as follows:
In this debut collection of poems, Sarah Alcott Anderson of Exeter, N.H., explores love, longing, loss, marriage, children, and place through her own experiences. She writes, “In mostly plainspoken poems, I explore interior and exterior landscapes—from childhood to motherhood, New England to Ireland—in the hope of honoring that we are here right now.” Poet Matt W. Miller in the foreword writes that Anderson’s lines seem “at times spun from a sugared lightning, at other times are as enriched as Irish bog or plain as New Hampshire granite, line and lyric come together to insist against a silence the world would have the poet embrace.”