Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Love Like Weeds -- a review

As a poet who has won an award or two for her poetry, I still find myself in awe (and envy) of those who can sculpt words into works of art. Those who know the power of few and embrace it. Poets who get it.

Julie Ann Cook has been a member of the Green Grandma community for quite awhile now. Through some postings on Facebook, I discovered this young mom of three had suffered the loss of two pregnancies and was pregnant again. I put a Post-It on my computer to remind me to pray for her.

Less than a month later, she let me know that her baby died. On October 31st, she delivered a 1 lb. 8 oz. 4.75" stillborn son. I wept for her and her family.

In the meantime, I discovered she was a poet and I ordered one of her books, Lemonade and Rumors

She chose to send me her newest book of poetry, Love Like Weeds, as well. The book has a beautiful, well-designed cover.

But it's inside the book where the real beauty exists. Raw, honest, beauty. Julie Ann Cook has the heart of an artist, with her art spilling out onto the pages like a fresh wound or a newly split-open pinata or a fragrant bouquet of wildflowers. She is that good. And I have to confess, I am envious of her talent.

She writes of love and loss and of a toddler's unique language. She challenges the reader to rethink the obvious, to question hard held beliefs. She undresses and dances naked before our hearts. And we wish we could be so transparent.

If you are looking for a book of poetry that will make you feel, look no further. Here are a few lines from some of my favorite poems in the book: 


But anxiety dried her mouth, wet her palms:
the baby had stopped moving.

The doctor found no rapid whir-whir-whir
of a baby's heartbeat. The sight of the flat line
on the monitor brought tears to her eyes
and overwhelmed her with nausea.

he was born. 

Hence, Fourth

"Yeah, we need a van," I say, addressing
our sanity, our judgment, our convictions,
our ability to keep our selves to ourselves.

"So, you're gonna have four?!" I hear.
"Well, that's what happens after three," I laugh,
"if you don't stop." 

Visiting My Son on a November Afternoon 

The day does not know
it is short. Yellow light warms me,
though chill breathes in lengthening shadows.

A leaf from a tulip tree flutters from blue
to where you rest. I consider it a gift--
this gold from the heavens-- as I trace

the name on your headstone 
and surrender to sobs--
heaving and shoulder-shaking--

for every moment 
I thought less
of you. 


Because I was afraid,
I hid--shivering and pale--
under mountains. I dug
and spat and shook
the dirt from my eyelashes
until I was nailless, broken.

There is an end somewhere.

It is not here.

Do you see why I envy her talent? Of course, I'm just offering you small glimpses of this wondrous collection of poetry, but I hope it gives you enough motivation to head over to Julie Ann Cook's site, read more about her, and purchase a copy for yourself. Do it for one of our community members. Do it for yourself. I guarantee you will be touched. She makes you smile. She makes you cry. Julie Ann Cook makes her readers feel. 


Julie Ann Cook was one of the featured guest bloggers in our Supermom -- How I Birthed My Baby series. Click here to read The Tale of Two Pre-Term Births


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