review by Elizabeth St Jacques, Canadian Book Review Annual
Carolyn Zonailo, the author of six previous books, describes
herself as a lyric poet who uses memory and personal experience
in order "to shed light on our collective human experience."
The 26 poems in this collection succeed in doing just that.
In the first group of poems, subtitled
"In the House of God," the poet as wife/mother/friend/observer
experiences pain, loneliness, and rejection, and derives comfort
and strength from memories that harbor "a green space to
enter, / a quiet space to rest" ("Among Strangers").
When beauty and love weave through her world, "the unseen
/ mystery of it all" is cherished ("A Summer Swim").
In the last section of the book,
"In the House of Childhood Dreams," Zonailo revisits
a rich storehouse filled with such delightful childhood memories
as her bedroom in the attic, a witch’s house, her Grandpa's
summer visits, junk collections, and the values of her Russian
family. But Zonailo is not blind to imperfection. In "Old
Photographs," for example, she sees herself from the ages
of 20 to 40, her eyes forever imploring the photographer to see
that "a space inside of me / was made for you alone to enter."
Zonailo's poems ring like mellow
bells—clean, vivid, vibrant, brilliant. Running through
this deceptively simple collection are deep currents that embrace
humankind as a whole, and that issue a plea to keep sacred "the
child's dreaming soul."
Copyright by Elizabeth St Jacques: www.carolynzonailo.com,