Debbie Richard is a fellow author published by Adelaide Books, New York. She graciously provided me with some photographs to personalize this review.
Debbie Richard’s poetry collection PIVOT takes as its theme those human moments of recognition that come from connection to place, the passage of time, loss, regret, joy, and renewal–and in a clear, direct voice calls us to be mindful of them all. I took care to read these poems late at night, when the house was quiet, and I could linger over my favorite lines and reflect on what these words had to tell me:
“There’s a place in the country / where a little white church once stood.”
“I caught your gentle fingertips, / No–it was only a small piece of debris,”
“the wind chimes on the veranda / as they rattle in the breeze,”
“How I miss those days, working together in the kitchen, / Mama and daughter, side by side.”
Other standout moments in the collection were the last line of “Changed”; drinking cold, clear water from a mountain spring as a spiritual act in “Incessant”; and several poems of rhymed verse that reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses and the pleasure and comfort I took from being read to as a child by my father.
Also of note were Ashley Teets’ soft-focused drawings that served as a counterpoint to the poems at key points in the collection. The drawings evoking sense of place were my favorites.
What I appreciated most about reading the poems in PIVOT was their accessibility, which, for me as a reader, represents a true generosity of spirit on the part of the poet. These poems invite the reader in: Come, share this moment with me; let your experience speak to mine.
“The Years between the Dashes” ends with the question, “It’s my life’s legacy–did you notice?” The life’s legacy of a poet is the poems she leaves behind, along with the readers she has touched in ways both small and profound, readers who will urge others to experience these poems themselves, to be touched and moved in their own ways. PIVOT is such a legacy, and yes, I did notice.