Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 84 pages
2022, ISBN: 978-1-952781-09-4 $19.95 + S&H
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Nancy Takacs is a poet in love with places, desert areas once home to ancient seas in the Colorado Plateau in Utah, and bodies of water, like Lake Superior, and the ocean she knew as a child growing up in New Jersey. These are personal poems with sensuous images that link the past and the present with a variety of tastes, smells, and textures. This collection surprises, wakes us up, and at times, soothes us. It includes poems that find strength in women’s relationships, that express the need to keep women’s voices strong and resonant. Also concerned with drought and its effects on animals, plants, and humans in this time of climate change, species extinction, and political upheaval, these poems breathe compassion for the dire situations in our world, and our own desire for wildness, wilderness, questioning our human-centered lens. Deeply connected to the natural world, both in Utah where she lives full time, and in Wisconsin near Lake Superior, where Takacs spends summers, these poems voice a need to protect and nurture, within and without, all of our fragile landscapes.
Praise for Nancy Takacs’ work:
“Not enough are we guttural, or loving,” we read here and feel the truth of it in our animal bodies. In Dearest Water, Nancy Takacs explores a wide range of relationships, from the “pickles” and “mazes” of the human family to the “shine of scorpions” and “terrible miracle” of a bear’s snout. These marvelous ecopoems help us feel more deeply and sensuously rooted even as they send us into the stars and more numinous questions of our kind. “I like the word amethyst in my mouth,” writes Takacs in a rich music that would conjure the wonder—in every moment, in each of us—of being part of the living earth. — Derek Sheffield, Poetry Editor of Terrain.org and author of Not for Luck
“I am thirsty/ for the lost,” writes Nancy Takacs in the title poem of Dearest Water. The poems in this collection summon back and transform their lost ones, from the bluebells and silks of memory, to a mother’s garden and ghost aunts, to the bodies and voices of earlier selves. They are thirsty, too, for wildness: the hunger of the bear, the poet’s desire for “the blue hip/ of a mountain,” the way God is “snout and tentacle,/ a brazen hornet.” Through meditative verve and layers of acute lyric imagery, Takacs calls out to canyons and starlight, seeds and stones, with a stirring clarity of vision. Like the speaker who rakes sorrel and thistle to make room for the poppies, these poems clear the way for the most feral of blooms, “their centers dark/ and alive as bees.” — Sally Rosen Kindred, author of Where the Wolf
To read Dearest Water is to fall in love with leisure, to linger with the intimacy of sensuous description, with the flavors and colors of flowers, foods, fabrics, gardens, woods, and women. It’s easy to fall in love with Takacs’ writing, with the sounds of her lines, her slant rhymes, her halo/bungalow/bramble, her tentacle/coral/whorl, her tremble/sienna/fickle, her circus of cirrus. Easy to love the disparate objects and thoughts inhabiting the stanzas, living in bliss alongside each other, every fresh look a tingling surprise, little shocks pulsing up. And the endings are never what you think, always a new way to see, feel, and imagine, enhanced by an image that carries light, weight, music, escape, humor, insight. In this transcendent collection, poems open like red poppies discovered in the “stubble of a fenceline,”. — Star Coulbrooke, inaugural poet laureate of Logan City, Utah, author of Thin Spines of Memory.
Nancy Takacs reads two poems from Dearest Water at Terrain.org https://www.terrain.org/2022/poetry/nancy-takacs-2/
Dearest Water by Nancy Takacs reviewed in Sugar House Review Summer 2022 (Kevin Miller):
These poems are affirmations edged with tenderness, steeped in compassion, wary of danger.
Nancy Takacs’ poems continue the care and keeping of sacred beings, places, and resources. Dearest Water is a reverent bow to water, to what is precious and essential until the end, “which is not really an end / but a way of going wholly / into our wings, into / the hearts of our bodies.”
Full review archived here: http://mayapplepress.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Sugar-House-Summer-2022-Nancy-Takacs-Dearest-Water-reviewed-by-Kevin-Miller.pdf
Dearest Water by Nancy Takacs reviewed in Quill and Parchment June 2022 (Michael Escoubas): http://quillandparchment.com/archives/June2022/book4.html
Dearest Water by Nancy Takacs reviewed in 15 Bytes April 2022 (Patricia McMillen) : http://artistsofutah.org/15Bytes/index.php/nancy-takacs-new-collection-of-poetry-gifts-readers-questions-to-which-there-are-no-answers/
“What My Dog Knows” from Dearest Water by Nancy Takacs is Verse Daily’s Poem of the Day for July 20 2022
Why I Became Black Dragon Canyon
I needed the spit of crow wings,
a heron flapping in tree-pose on my shoulder,
a cougar on alert under my piñons.
I needed sun to scheme through my bodies,
the beige earth of my openings,
the wind to shear off bits of me,
then amethyst my bones.
I wanted to be carved out of aimlessness.
I needed my other side to finally
shadow me, shuck me, as I waited
in silence for the manna
of planets, the icy blossoms of stars.
I needed paintbrush and mallow
to whisk up through my toes.
I wanted a waterfall for grasses
to thicken, be green, then go gray
at my knees. I needed to let my faces
become varnished persimmon.
I wanted to drink rain
from my own stones.
I needed that juniper to brush me.
About the Author
Nancy Takacs’s poetry awards include The Juniper Prize, the 2018 and 2016 15 Bytes Book Award for Poetry, Weber’s Sherwin W. Howard Award, a 2020 Pushcart Prize, and a runner-up for the Missouri Review Editor’s Prize. She is the author of three other books of poetry and four chapbooks. Nancy lives most of the year in the high-desert town of Wellington, Utah, and spends time in Bayfield, Wisconsin, near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in a small cabin with her husband, poet Jan Minich. Their son Ian Minich is a photographer in Salt Lake City. Nancy is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Utah’s art hub: Helper City.