Reviewed by David Giver
More than a memoir…
Our everyday lives are filled with stories and memories that most of us never look very deep into for meaning, for joy, but Kristen Stone seems to run full force into her own experiences, experiences that most of us would shy away from. Not only does the poet run toward these memories, these experiences, she is able to find the beauty in the experience, and give it to us in a way that makes it feel as though it were our own, if only we were brave enough.
These experiences are not foreign to us, not off limits to us; they are the experiences that make up the examined life. Judgment is not passed. Experience is explored in a way that is organic and leaves judgment to the one that is now experiencing it. Love is tender, exciting, secret, and authoritative, as are the shared experiences of life, both animal and vegetation, both fragile, both beautiful. Even the experiences that we wince at, or the ones that we never want to end, still make us who we are, and leave an indelible mark on us that make the experiences ever the more important.
Language is used here in a way that is honest and true, and never is it used to hide the ugliness of life or experience. That being said, it is used in a way that can only be referred to as art, a palpable portrait of a life that is now examined and shared. Sure, the words speak of duck eggs, the odorous work of burning out horn buds, suburban life, and the masking of old age, but all of those experiences are brought together to show that life, in all of its moments, builds a rather unique, yet shared, existence for all of us. And that uniqueness is predicated on not knowing where the experiences of our lives will take us, but finally coming to the realization that trust in all that happens to us brings us closer to beauty, to life.