Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Poetry -

Joan Cu­sack Han­dler, Ca­vankerry Press Soft­cover $18 (184pp), 978-1-933880-56-3

From the founder of Ca­vankerry Press, this de­light­ful mem­oir in verse bears wit­ness to a com­pli­cated fam­ily his­tory of Ire­land’s Troubles, de­vout Catholi­cism, fierce ma­ter­nal strength, ag­ing, death, bit­ter­ness, and love. That Joan Cu­sack Han­dler’s poetry is flaw­less serves to draw the emo­tional ten­sion of her care­fully mea­sured re­mem­brances even tauter. She is the au­thor of two other col­lec­tions of poetry, another mem­oir, and the re­cip­i­ent of five Push­cart nom­i­na­tions.


Part­ners in this loss, Dad at­tends morn­ings, I af­ter­noons, but Cather­ine gives all: two weeks’ va­ca­tion sleep­ing on the stiff re­cliner wait­ing for the words that will fi­nally tell her that, yes, her mother loves her. My sis­ter suf­fers a deeper grief; this is the sec­ond time she’s lost our mother— con­vinced from child­hood that she was adopted, no other rea­son for Mom’s re­fusal. But I pose another: Cather­ine’s Dad’s fa­vorite. For our mother, our fa­ther lov­ing his daugh­ter meant he loved his wife less.

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