poems by Sharon Tracey
Land Marks is a journey across geographies—the physical, temporal, and spiritual. An exploration of how the natural world marks us as we move through it, seeking meaning and communion. How places shape us, how the earth is alive. The poems move north, south, then west with roadside haikus for contemplation and rest, then spiral outward and beyond for a wider view of the world with meditations on the environment and other sentient species. How we live with the light and the dark, how our days are observed.
POETRY / General
ISBN: 978-1-956056-62-4 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Copyright 2022; released November 2022
Sharon Tracey is the author of two previous poetry collections, Chroma: Five Centuries of Women Artists (Shanti Arts) and What I Remember Most Is Everything (All Caps Publishing). Her poems have appeared in Radar Poetry, Terrain.org, Lily Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, and the Ekphrastic Review, among others. She previously served as a director of research communications and interdisciplinary environmental programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and before that, as an environmental policy analyst and writer. She lives in the Connecticut River Valley in western Massachusetts.
“‘This is the world / a half cup of light, half cup of dark.’” Sharon Tracey’s Land Marks is a meditative travelogue meticulously engaged with the specificities of place, a record of the ways in which territory changes and is changed by those creatures, human and otherwise, who inhabit it. In these poems, Tracey trains a keen and tender gaze on landscapes across the North American continent and beyond, in an effort to “‘to take everything in. / The scope and prospect. The solace.’ Deeply aware of the environmental tragedies that both haunt and stalk the late Anthropocene, Tracey nonetheless finds opportunities for glimmering praise. Window washers cleaning skyscrapers, ice cream melting in the desert, beetle cuneiform, unmown New England fields—we witness these afresh in Tracey’s limpid phrasing. In these pages, ‘perhaps you too / will find a place / you forgot you loved.’ Perhaps, like me, you will want to slip outside for a cupful of the world, worth saving.”
“The poet Wendell Berry reminds us, ‘There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places,’ and here in Land Marks, Sharon Tracey takes the reader from coastal dunes to red rock deserts to Antarctic blue ice in search of the sacred and the damaged, the everyday and the mysterious. This book is a feast of holy geographies, a compendium of rituals for worship and attention, a catalog of reasons for praise, and of urgent questions of hope, meaning, and survival in a world ‘of cruelty and beauty in equal measure.’ Amidst uncertainty, global strife, and our own human insignificance, these piercing, keen-eyed, compassion-rich poems arrive at both mercy and mourning, reminding the reader that we may not know the land’s hymns, but we can—and should—as Tracey does so beautifully, ‘try to sing them anyway.’”
“With precision and compassion, Sharon Tracey invites readers on an exploration of the connections between the humblest creatures that co-inhabit our shared space, from the east coast to the west, and the human species, offering at once a celebration of the natural world and an aching requiem to the relationships we did not create and may not be able to preserve.”
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