Staring Through My Eyes by Sylvia Cavanaugh



Filled with the “honeysuckle summer,” and “fairy hollows,” with “b-boys. . . dizzy headspins,” and the “staccato whap of screen doors,” these poems spell the closeness of other bodies, other identities. Sylvia Cavanaugh has written a collection of love poems—poems in love with the many rhythms of body, with the countless ways we story our humanness, and with the particularities of spaces from rural Appalachia to the urban Midwest. Her poetic vision awakens us to the complicated yin and yang of each person, the otherness nestled inside: the “boy in me” I “waited to love;” the “men in dark work pants” who “kneeled over their roses in the dusk.” Here explorations of memory transformed by the poetic line, become small wisdoms, become meaning. “Gems of perception” and “a kaleidoscope” of human searching, these are poems that say “yes” to life. Read them “straight down the spine of afternoon.”
–Kimberly Blaeser, Wisconsin Poet Laureate & author of Apprenticed to Justice

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]


InStaring Through My Eyes poet Sylvia Cavanaugh doesn’t miss a thing, from Appalachian summer “cicada whir down the spine of an afternoon” (Rope Climb) to “tin cans hang in trees for bird houses” (Rusted Houses). With her we see breakdancers on a bus, forts made of blankets, and mermaid tattoos. Cavanaugh’s sometimes quiet, most times powerful imagery shows us how we are connected with tendons and hinges and light. “we hold hands and start to talk / about how we love to be alone “ (Snowballs). Her poems make you look.
–Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011-2012)

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]


Sometimes emanating heat, more often warmth, Sylvia Cavanaugh’s poems are those of a colorist of the first order. I’m reminded of a painter whose work my wife and I are lucky enough to own and who backwashes his canvases in red. Yet it is as if Cavanaugh’s eyes have ears, synesthetic-like perception her forte. “Duplex” begins as such: “Duped by a rectangle of glass above the door / in the way its light came in / but we could not see out / like the eyeless yellow marigolds between our walks / all fringe with no insight”. Ah, but there is more: the perspicuousness in that which is understood despite subtle paradoxes like the ones above and, elsewhere, the puns and glorious phrases like “moonglow mango groves” or “gossamer rain”. Rather out of desire than duty I have savored the entire Staring Through My Eyes four times, appreciation swelling with each reading, finally now not only to blurb but to go back and “to gawk / slack jawed”.

–Karl Elder, author of Earth as It Is in Heaven, an aural novel

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]




Staring Through My Eyes

by Sylvia Cavanaugh

$14.99, paper


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Staring Through My Eyes by Sylvia Cavanaugh”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *