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The poems in Unwilling to Laugh Alone are a tribute to the richness and wonder of our relationships. The sweep of a life unfolds in these pages—from childhood, through marriage, and into middle age—and all the wisdom acquired along the way. There is enormous empathy in this collection and a brave honest voice that admits, “I find I lost nothing today/and everything hurts.”
— Marjory Wentworth
Anne Kaylor’s poetry collection threads around overcoming brokenness, both her own and that of loved ones. The childhood family is not a trouble-free zone but a “false sanctuary/from my terrors and tears.” In “Baking Bread,” the act of kneading helps a friend surmount the effects of chemotherapy. And yet “You stand again, find love again,/begin again.” In addition to a wide range of character portraits, several late pieces are humorous, including the sensuous “Foot Long.” The final result is “The Dance of Me”—“rising to that epiphany/of internal grace.”
— David Radavich
Reading Unwilling to Laugh Alone is like sitting at the kitchen table with a family member, sharing secrets, woes, and hopes. The turns of phrases, thoughts, and emotions within these poems are familiar without being expected. As the author writes in her poem “I Eat Magic”: “You know deep down/we’re all kin in sufferin’.” Indeed we are.
— Malaika King Albrecht
Just above my right ear—
where the trunk of this gnarled oak
branches out and my hammock ties off—
there’s a hollowed crook.
Filled with last night’s rain,
this rotting niche sprouts mushrooms,
gathers leaves, hosts a wily woodpecker
who shares its bath.
Notches carved into bark
mark my growth in youth,
but I regret these wounds
as age bends me, too.
I sway to the same wind
that pushes darkened limbs
and wonder if we’re kindred now,
each reaching for our last rest.
The oak turns to winter and, I fear,
the sleep from which it won’t rouse—
the crook is a thief silently stealing
my old friend’s time.