Lynn: It may seem as if Joyce Sidman has written a new book. The truth is that she has created a key to our hearts. Her newest book of poetry, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings (Houghton 2013) touched me deeply in so many ways. I laughed, cried, smiled, nodded, sighed and winced. These superb poems unlock emotions we all hold close and have held close throughout history.
In the opening Note, Sidman writes that throughout time we have “filled our lives with poetry from morning till night.” We have chanted, lamented. blessed and cursed what matters most to us. In the past we may have sung to avert catastrophe in battle or from the weather. Today we still sing to keep away the many forms of darkness that frighten us, to celebrate love or cope with life’s challenges. And, being human, we may curse those lost keys or invoke a good night’s sleep. The book has four sections: Chants & Charms, Spells & Invocations, Laments & Remembrances and Praise Songs & Blessings. The poems within are a charming evocative mix of subjects from battered teddy bears to death to the sheer joy of riding a bike. They come from and speak to every human heart, young or old….
Cindy: It’s rare for Lynn to embrace a poetry book before me, or more tightly. But I’ve had to ease into this collection. I read it in a gulp on the first read and it did not move me. That was not the poet’s fault. It was the reader’s: mine. I think I read it standing, even, the first time. A second read was more leisurely. During the third I picked through the poems I liked the most. I’ve read it several more times now and appreciate it more each time. Read the rest of our review at Bookends Blog