Helping the Morning
New and Selected Poems
"What a world this is, that arouses a poet to write ordinary things into gifts for the spirit! Who would imagine that the dust from a red rug would help us understand Augustine? Under her pen, wildly disparate things become friends, sacred and profane join hands. Nothing is loose and disconnected. Reading these poems is like flipping a row of light switches; we see the commonplace of a poet's life translated into poems so incandescent we think, 'Of course. Why did we never notice that before?' Her words gleam in the eye, nestle in the ear, take root in the rich dirt of the heart."
Luci Shaw, author of Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey and Scape, Poems
"When the stars come out in a Walker poem, 'it is just like seeing fire through a colander of darkness.' The points of light are the hallmark of a metaphysical poet. In Walker's diaphanous lyrics and meditations, metaphor is second nature, but it is also sleight of hand; through it you see more: an oil slick in the long moment before an auto crash becomes 'the broken blues and pinks of a rainbow trout.' These poems never lose sight of 'the things of this world,' as Richard Wilbur named them. You marvel at the wholeness of Walker's vision, and how it pits the illumination of insight against the mystery of eternity."
Elaine Terranova, author of Dollhouse
"I have always admired Jeanne Murray Walker's gift for finding the poetry in the everyday, the song in the mundane, the epiphany in the moment. It's her willingness, no matter how many times she has seen the sun come up, to regard each time as a fresh beginning. In her affirmations we can recognize that the world offers us all sorts of redemption simply by being itself. Yes, as she admits, 'this world needs keys.' But when it opens, to paraphrase one of my favorite lines of hers, we can be amazed at how amazed we are. Everywhere in this welcome volume of Walker's new and selected poems, we meet her down-to-earth vision of the transcendent."
Mark Jarman, author of Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems