This colorful collection of verse is both gracefully written and gorgeously designed.
Buirski’s new book looks as good as it reads and is appropriate for both the shelf and the coffee table. Included among her compact stacks of verse are dozens of high-resolution, full-color photographs of roses, meadows, and hot air balloons. Yet its pleasures aren’t only visual. Buirski’s volume comprises three sections—“Drowning,” “Breathing,” and “Soaring”—and the content moves broadly from tropes of survival to images of triumph. Much of her work takes the form of brief, forceful fragments reminiscent of Emily Dickinson and Basho. An early poem from “Drowning,” entitled “Surviving,” reads in its entirety, “I’ve lived the lessons / And have survived / To share the story. / Are you satisfied?” A number of the poems in the second section address the challenges of maintaining faith with quiet grace. Among them is “Believing,” which reads, “Simple prayer / From the heart of a child / ‘Keep me safe, dear Lord / With trust, hope, and faith / I do believe.’ ” And by the time we reach “Soaring,” Buirski lifts her voice in song, as in “Rejoicing”: “With flair, I will live my life / With finesse, I will write my soul’s poetry / With passion, I will sing with the whole of my heart.” Here, too, we have a Buirski poem in full, and she often writes with such compressed simplicity. One only laments that her flair for brevity occasionally drives her to write pieces so short they feel like sweet nothings; e.g., “Will you marry me? / I will / May I take your hand? / You may.” It’s hard to imagine this quick jotting is worth the extra high-quality paper. And it’s a shame Buirski doesn’t spread her wings more often because her poems actually get better as they get longer. But that’s a nice problem to have.
A volume that revels in flashes of insight and moments of beauty.