ISBN: 9781591812869 Categories: , , , Tags: , , , ,

What Just Happened

$14.95

Sara Berkeley Tolchin’s new collection of poems begins: “I’d like my heart / to be without conditions, / to crack each day a little more open,” an ambition these vibrant, airy poems explore in the book’s copious reach. Many of them reflect on themes of loss and losing: “My mother is missing. The stars too, / the stars are not where I left them, / they are not in their constellations.”

As Wes Davis observed, in his Harvard Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry, “her rich poems — and her sharp eye for details of the natural world — are given a resonant tension by the stretched ties to her native country.” What Just Happened includes poems set on the west coasts of Ireland and the United States. But “the rumble beneath her poetic language,” Davis continues, “is most often the noise made by the tectonic plates of personality as they shift beneath the surface terrain of relationships.”

Flights — actual and imaginary — embrace a search for “true north, / the secret heart of all things.” Though they address places where “much hurt comes to rest” they sing “O holy life” and frame a time that was “a good day . . . full of miracles.”

Praise for What Just Happened

“Sara Tolchin’s new collection, What Just Happened, contains poems that explore ‘The heart without compass/ The journey without a map’ in an Irish and Californian setting. These wise, sensory poems about living far from home, her mother’s death, an ex-husband’s suicide, her 13-year-old daughter learning to drive, and coyotes, achieve ‘a benediction of some sort.’”

— Niall MacMonagle, editor, Windharp: Poems of Ireland Since 1916

“Tolchin’s rich poems—and her sharp eye for details of the natural world—are given a resonant tension by the stretched ties to her native country…. The rumble beneath her poetic language is most often the noise made by the tectonic plates of personality as they shift beneath the surface terrain of relationships.”

— Wes Davis, editor, Harvard Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry

ISBN

9781591812869

Dimensions

5.5 x 8.5 in.

Page Count

75 pages

Price

$14.95

Format

Paperback

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about the author

Author

Sara Berkeley Tolchin was born in Dublin in 1967 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of California, Berkeley. Her first collection of poems, Penn, was published to unprecedented critical acclaim when she was just 19, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards and the Sunday Tribune Arts Awards. Since then she has published Home Movie Nights (poems, 1989), The Swimmer in the Deep Blue Dream (stories, 1992), Facts About Water (poems, 1994), Shadowing Hannah (a novel, 1999), Strawberry Thief (poems, 2005) and The View from Here (poems, 2011).

She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was among five finalists, along with Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon, for 2011's prestigious Irish Times Poetry Now award, won by Nobel Prize laureate Seamus Heaney. Her work has appeared in 25 anthologies, as well as numerous magazines, journals, and newspapers.

Sara lives in a rural community just north of San Francisco with her husband and daughter, and works as a hospice nurse. All her previous books were published using her maiden name, Sara Berkeley.