Judith Valente’s poems are deeply rooted in the everyday world, and yet transport us to a place in the soul, a place that C.S. Lewis once described as “the real, real world.” She is a poet concerned with those moments that telescope the sacred in the ordinary, offer a clarifying vision of what it means to be human, and remind us we are part of something larger than ourselves. These are love poems to life, whether she is writing about a lunar eclipse, the origin of the alphabet, the art of finding beauty in flaws, or an imagined stroll with William Carlos Williams. The poems contain a keen sense of place. They transport us to a summer parade in rural Illinois, a beach under stars on the island of Maui, a sacred festival in Chiang Mai, a classroom in a Catholic girls school in northern New Jersey. In language that is at once accessible and inventive, these open-handed poems remind us it is a miracle simply to be alive.
cover photos by John Matt Dorn