Spending time with family and remembering loved ones is what the holidays are all about, but for some it’s a little harder than for others. Beloved on the Earth is an anthology of poems that can ease this seasonal distress.
When the iron horse shakes the platform,
she’ll board, saying, “What a lovely
thing to find.” And I’ll wave goodbye.
What a lovely thing to lose.
One thing that makes this anthology so interesting is the story of its creation. Jim Perlman, editor and publisher for Duluth’s Holy Cow! Press, started planning this collection of poetry after his mother passed away; he was joined by three friends and literary enthusiasts who also experienced a loss. Each, through dealing with their grief, realized how little has been written or compiled about the experience of death and mourning. They put out a call for poems and were overwhelmed at the response, which they narrowed to 150 poems on the subject of “grief and gratitude.”
The collection features over 25 Minnesota writers, as well as writers from as far away as Japan and Indonesia. Names like Tess Gallagher, Raymond Carver Jr., and Susan Carol Hauser may be instantly familiar, but the book also features plenty of newcomers. The title of the anthology is taken from a poem by Raymond Carver called “Late Fragment,” the first one in the book.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on earth.
There is one detraction to this nice package of poetry, and that is the cover. With its neon tones and blurred, 70s-wallpaper look, it’s just not serious enough for the work that’s inside. The most appealing aspect is the variety of the poems. While it isn’t a book you want to sit down and read through all at once, it is a book you can pick up to find inspiration. Just knowing it’s there on the shelf might be a comfort in itself.