In her work Describing the Dark, Joyce Kessel does exactly what the title suggests: she explores the light and shadow of family; the familiar and the gritty of her hometown; and the blackness of a grief that seems endless. As she writes in one poem “Poets tend to find / more meaning in darkness / and other places / people fail to look.” The work lives up to the promise of the title.
- Don Cellini, author of Translate into English and other books
Life is composed not of grand, dramatic moments, but of tiny things — events, observations, insights — that serve as the thematic connective tissue of existence, whether joyful or painful. Joyce Kessel’s pen is a scalpel that separates those tiny things from the larger body of being for close and wondrous examination. Sometimes fearful and sometimes funny, Describing the Dark is a collection of undeniably universal poems that will resonate with all readers.
- Gary Earl Ross, author of Blackbird Rising, A Novel of the American Spirit
Describing the Dark by Joyce Kessel begins with homage to the ancestors who tell us how we got here and to Buffalo, the gone neighborhoods, buildings, people. Kessel talks about the past with longing — the personal past and the larger one we emerge from. There is pain here, the pain of disease, injury, loss. It’s like the blues — you can listen and weep, unhurt. A lovely attempt to grab hold of something so ephemeral (or dark) that you can only describe it with poetry.
- Helen Ruggieri, author of The Kingdom Where Everybody Sings Off Key
$10 (Kindle $2.99)