Pilgrim is made from filaments of moss, lover’s sweat, tannic smoke. These are quiet poems set in varied landscapes, from an arboretum in spring, to a New England orchard, to the Atlantic sea coast. They are epistles from the interior life and memory of a solitary and sometimes stoic narrator interested in where and how the mundane meets the metaphysical.
Their brevity and spareness points to limitations and lack, but also to the potency of all that’s held back, the not said; the blank spaces that inhabit and surround these poems resonate with themes of desire and belonging, separateness and exile.
Under the influence of ancient Japanese forms like the haiku and tanka, Pilgrim constructs meaning from encounters in nature, or scenes viewed from a window; these poems observe the things and routines of the world—polar bears in a changing environment or the daily chore of washing dishes—and pronounces all of it sacred.
Having grown up in Michigan, and educated all over, Holly Wren Spaulding is now based in western Massachusetts, where she is the founder of Poetry Forge, an incubator for writers and their work. Pilgrim is her second collection of poems, her first with Alice Greene & Co.