Route 66 and Its Sorrows

“Carolyn Miller is a lyric poet of redeeming grace and intense clarity. Her poems are grounded in a sense of the marvelous, as if viewing life through a jewel, transforming the dark world of memory and desire into a luminous presence. She is a master of distilled moments. The mood of the poems in Route 66 and Its Sorrows is both elegiac and celebratory. For her, ‘what matters is / the songs we teach ourselves / to sing, however bitter, however ragged.’ In poem after poem, she returns us to what is nurturing in our lives and in the world: ‘everywhere / cicadas and crickets are rasping out their brief sentient lives, / and off in the woods a whippoorwill keeps calling / that each moment is sweeter and more precious / than any you will ever taste again.’ I read her poems with admiration and deep pleasure.”

 

—Joseph Stroud

Light, Moving

 “A woman goes about her life; she completes those common tasks she needs to stay useful and alive. She remembers the past, those she loved, those she failed to love enough. She puts it down in poems that never claim more than they deserve, and in the end they deserve all the attention the reader can bring, for they come as close to beauty and wisdom as poems come these days. . . . Their music and vocabulary draw their strength from the best that has endured in poetry in English from Wyatt to Williams, and while they are original, they are also as ordinary as bread or wine.”

—Philip Levine, in Ploughshares

After Cocteau
 
“In After Cocteau, Carolyn Miller reminds us that we are constantly surrounded by the miraculous, and fills us with ‘a deep, sweet nourishment.’ In her poems of sensual celebration and penetrating hope, we are comforted by the voice of a mature poet equally talented in handling ekphrasis, the elegy, and the lyric, as well as narrative and persona poems. With seamless clarity and a painter’s passion for detail and imagery, Miller invites us to discover a ‘sense’ in which language can do what so many poets have wanted it to do: make us hear and see. . . . Generous and intelligent, this book is vibrant with emotional integrity and grace.”
 
—Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Sixteen Rivers Press, 2009
Sixteen Rivers Press, 2002
Terrapin Books, 2017