Leslie Clark guides us through an interior landscape where nature imagery mirrors a poet’s quest to answer some important questions about life—how do we “picture it,” how do we remember it true, when the night crowds in and light “seeps into a crease”? How do we face the “gloaming” where we balance on a fulcrum between before and after? How do our memories teach us to live and face what dreams may come? In a skillful balance between lyric and narrative poems, Clark offers the reader a still point for reflection.
–Roberta Schultz, author of Outposts on the Border of Longing, Finishing Line Press, 2014.
In this first collection of her poetry, Leslie Clark mesmerizes the reader, capturing one instant after another and crafting descriptions that place us exactly in the time and spot of her choosing. With poems both luminous and wise, she holds the reader tight to each word, giving tender attention to loving presence and heartbreaking absence, childhood memories and quandaries of maturity. With exquisite vulnerability and transparency, Clark admits “to place / a mark on the page / is to put myself / on the line.” We emerge grateful that she has done so.
–Laurie Elizabeth Lambert, author of What I Can Carry, Finishing Line Press, 2016.
Leslie Clark’s debut chapbook, Driving in the Dark, concerns itself with what is missing as much as what is present. The poems, an interweaving of story and meditative lyric, search the spaces between—day and night, mothers and daughters, absent fathers and their families, the lover and beloved, past and present, waking and dreams. We, the readers, too are “brushed by dark wings” of memory and mortality in this exploration of the nature of longing, language and the passing of time.
–Pauletta Hansel, Cincinnati Poet Laureate (2016-2018)