Her Joy Becomes

Her Joy Becomes
Andrea Potos
Fernwood Press


Andrea Potos's poems are permeated by an expansive sense of kinship. Blood family are precious, but equally intimate are luminary writers with whom she finds soul connections. Although most of these figures are physically absent, all are a vital presence in Potos's "rooms of thought." She recommends (and practices) not getting snagged in appearances but "look[ing] slant" to find what is enduring. This is what she calls "graz[ing] with your consciousness" to gather joy. This is no simplistic pursuit. Rather, she's in agreement with C.S. Lewis's insight that "joy is the serious business of heaven."

Potos understands that it takes committed work to choose and own joy. These poems involve aging parents, cancer, dread, death, grief, funerals-the hard times that generate hard questions. But they also celebrate the sustaining "underpinnings of dailiness"-laundry, coffee, washing dishes, brushing hair, bird song, vegetables, floral dresses. As those who are now absent become valued mental companions, she discovers "a peace whisper[ing] to her...a different happiness unfolding." The gift of these poems is in how Potos thoughtfully weighs what is given and what is taken, how life both fulfills and disappoints, and determines to let joy keep her. "Breathing deeply is simple, and hope is the natural choice."

These poems are grounded in the long remembering of loss and shaped by the tender work of grief. They are brimming with epiphanies-in-the-ordinary, which after all, are the only ones that startle us into seeing our own lives anew.

Mark S. Burrows, author of The Chance of Home

These vivid, beautifully observed pieces immerse us in a time when the thin air / between worlds was still / noticeable and ordinary. Don't miss this collection.

Laura Grace Weldon, 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year

Her Joy Becomes is a book for those of us who find our prayers in poems, who find greatest joy in daily life with loved ones, books, the natural world, observing miracles occurring before our eyes.

Donna Hilbert, author of Threnody

These poems are openings to wonder, traversing the seasons of the year and of the heart. Andrea Potos invites us into the intimacy of the color and texture of life.

Christine Valters Paintner, author of Dreaming of Stones

Andrea Potos is author of several poetry collections, including Marrow of Summer (Kelsay Books), Mothershell (Kelsay Books), A Stone to Carry Home (Salmon Poetry), An Ink Like Early Twilight (Salmon Poetry), We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon Poetry) and Yaya's Cloth (Iris Press). She has received the William Stafford Prize in poetry from Rosebud Magazine, the James Hearst Poetry Prize from the North American Review, and several Outstanding Achievement Awards in poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her poems can be found widely in print and online. Andrea lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She was a longtime bookseller in independent bookstores there. She still needs to be surrounded by books.


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