The Place Where I Left You by Sandra Ann Winters
“Sandra Ann Winters’ poems are refreshingly direct, heroic in their address of the issues at the heart of the human condition. A natural empathy for the ‘individual journey’ is leavened by a superb mastery of her chosen craft, what Joyce calls ‘a scrupulous meanness.’ Her experience of growing up in rural North Carolina along with her extensive travels in Ireland bring a unique dimension to a poetry that transcends geographic and socio-cultural divides. How she unpeels the masks that would distract us from an assessment of our true Selves is quite unique in modern poetry. A most welcome and timely addition to the canon of Irish poetry.”
—Eugene O’Connell, Editor, Cork Literary Review
“In The Place Where I Left You, Sandra Ann Winters has given us poems that disturb our comforting myths of family, place, and self—themes the book’s divisions announce—as well as poems that testify to quotidian heroism in simple acts of persevering: the will to plant, to wash greens, mow hay, paint rooms, to ‘hang on.’ Whether in impoverished, rural North Carolina, or the high haunts of Yeats and Lady Gregory, these thematic loci are the universal landscape out of which all human individuation emerges and, sometimes, transcends.
"Winters’ poems are word paintings, and, like the impressionist masters the poet emulates, her carefully wrought pictures establish life, but from a distance. The distance, as in ‘The Kitchen,’ separating the poet’s strategic act of copying Monet’s mustard-colored walls from the inanity of picking ‘yellow nits’ from her son’s hair; or the distance in time, the decade elapsed between the planting and abandonment of an unsuccessful wisteria vine that suddenly bursts into an ‘explosion' of lavender.’ A distance traveled, survived, through all the ways we humans fail and, sometimes, save each other, or ourselves. Winters’ palette is expunged of the rosy; her touch, hot, in pursuit of the ‘mot juste.’
"The editor of Ireland’s Cork Literary Review, Eugene O’Connell, calls Winters’ collection a ‘welcome and timely addition to the canon of Irish poetry.’ The same might be said for American letters.”
"Sandra Ann Winters’ poems 'range from earth to stars and cut to the quick.' The impulse to confront loss with unflinching honesty is finely balanced by the impulse toward joy and dazzlement—by language, by color, by wild creatures, by sustaining relationships with others. . . These are wise poems. Whatever the loss, new life waits. Wisteria dormant for a decade blooms again. The spirit endures and ‘we all hang on’ (‘The Wisteria Blooms’).”
—Becky Gould Gibson, author of Need-Fire, writes on Calving Under the Moon
“Sandra Ann Winters takes us ‘one foot and two inches / above [our] line of vision’ in poems reminding us to expand our own focus and be wary of what we usually overlook in the process of living our daily lives. From planting wisteria to taking a shower, looking for a dog or laying out a corpse, her words startle us with tender insights and graceful expression.”
—Terri Strug, author of Musical Progression in the Poetry of Randall Jarrell, writes on Calving Under the Moon
Sandra Ann Winters was winner of the 2011 Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition with her poem “Death of Alaska.” The editors of the North Carolina Literary Review nominated “Water Signs” for the 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her poems have been published in the Cork Literary Review, Southword Journal, the North Carolina Literary Review, the Wisconsin Review, and others. She is author of a previous poetry chapbook, Calving Under the Moon (Finishing Line Press, 2013).
The Place Where I Left You will be formally launched in Ireland at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival February 12, 2015, and in the U.S. at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Minneapolis, MN, April 9-11, 2015. In approximately June, 2015, Dufour Editions (and Amazon.com) will distribute her book in the US.
Visit Sandra’s new website at sandraannwinters.com.