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Nancy Takacs is a poet in love with places, desert areas once home to ancient seas in the Colorado Plateau in Utah, and bodies of water, like Lake Superior, and the ocean she knew as a child growing up in New Jersey. These are personal poems with sensuous images that link the past and the present with a variety of tastes, smells, and textures. This collection surprises, wakes us up, and at times, soothes us. It includes poems that find strength in women’s relationships, that express the need to keep women’s voices strong and resonant. Also concerned with drought and its effects on animals, plants, and humans in this time of climate change, species extinction, and political upheaval, these poems breathe compassion for the dire situations in our world, and our own desire for wildness, wilderness, questioning our human-centered lens. Deeply connected to the natural world, both in Utah where she lives full time, and in Wisconsin near Lake Superior, where Takacs spends summers, these poems voice a need to protect and nurture, within and without, all of our fragile landscapes.
“‘Not enough are we guttural, or loving,’ we read here and feel the truth of it in our animal bodies. In DEAREST WATER, Nancy Takacs explores a wide range of relationships, from the ‘pickles’ and ‘mazes’ of the human family to the ‘shine of scorpions’ and ‘terrible miracle’ of a bear’s snout. These marvelous ecopoems help us feel more deeply and sensuously rooted even as they send us into the stars and more numinous questions of our kind. ‘I like the word amethyst in my mouth,’ writes Takacs in a rich music that would conjure the wonder–in every moment, in each of us–of being part of the living earth.”–Derek Sheffield
“‘I am thirsty/ for the lost,’ writes Nancy Takacs in the title poem of DEAREST WATER. The poems in this collection summon back and transform their lost ones, from the bluebells and silks of memory, to a mother’s garden and ghost aunts, to the bodies and voices of earlier selves. They are thirsty, too, for wildness: the hunger of the bear, the poet’s desire for ‘the blue hip/ of a mountain,’ the way God is ‘snout and tentacle,/ a brazen hornet.’ Through meditative verve and layers of acute lyric imagery, Takacs calls out to canyons and starlight, seeds and stones, with a stirring clarity of vision. Like the speaker who rakes sorrel and thistle to make room for the poppies, these poems clear the way for the most feral of blooms, ‘their centers dark/ and alive as bees.'”–Sally Rosen Kindred
“To read DEAREST WATER is to fall in love with leisure, to linger with the intimacy of sensuous description, with the flavors and colors of flowers, foods, fabrics, gardens, woods, and women. It’s easy to fall in love with Takacs’ writing, with the sounds of her lines, her slant rhymes, her halo/bungalow/bramble, her tentacle/coral/whorl, her tremble/sienna/fickle, her circus of cirrus. Easy to love the disparate objects and thoughts inhabiting the stanzas, living in bliss alongside each other, every fresh look a tingling surprise, little shocks pulsing up. And the endings are never what you think, always a new way to see, feel, and imagine, enhanced by an image that carries light, weight, music, escape, humor, insight. In this transcendent collection, poems open like red poppies discovered in the ‘stubble of a fenceline.'”–Star Coulbrooke
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