Early in Seed Across Snow, Kathleen Driskell asks “what do we have but the past to parent us?”—and the poems show us myriad lessons in mortality and humility learned from tending to memory and its various complexities. But Driskell is also concerned with the present and its “hurtful glory,” the natural world, children, and family. Her poems about
the context of a long marriage, something all too rarely experienced
and even more rarely well expressed, are finely wrought and particularly
beautiful. Mining the domestic to find in the most ordinary closet or
attic figurative richness, Driskell writes with formal poise, precision,
and spirited wisdom.
—Claudia Emerson (author of Late Wife, winner of the Pulitzer for Poetry in 2006)
Kathleen Driskell’s audacious and complex Seed Across Snow is a stunning book. Reading Driskell’s poems is like looking into the luminous wonder of a shell or a feather, so straightforwardly identifiable yet so mysterious in its formation. She writes of the terrifying danger of the ordinary, loved ones in daily situations that could threaten their existence—or change the world. Driskell makes a poetry of emergencies alternating with a deep appreciation of those moments in life when all is well. With humor, sass, a luxuriance of line and a sense of our interior worlds so sure that she can follow a thread of feeling to a knot of thought and back through the thought to feeling again, Kathleen Driskell gives us important poetry, brilliant and necessary.
—Molly Peacock (The Second Blush, Norton 2008)
Why I Mother You the Way I Doby Kathleen Driskell
That afternoon, I have to admit, there were no thoughts
of you. I was in high school - making my way past
the buses to a waiting car - a boy who would not be
your father - when the line of traffic stopped. The girls,
classmates, sisters, had darted between buses
and into the highway, trying to cross the field to their home.
They both lay twisted in the road. My science teacher,
Mr. Desaro, took off his suit coat and laid it over Susan's
face. He was crying because he only had one coat.
By the time they let us pass, Eve had been covered with a white
sheet. The ambulances had come. Red lights flashed, but
their mother was still pushing her silver cart
through the grocery. The sheriff was walking up behind
her. As she reached for a gallon of milk, he moved
to touch her arm.