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Catching Light: Poems (Paperback)
In Catching Light, Kathryn Stripling Byer searches for the language of aging, for a way of confronting every woman's fear of looking in the mirror and seeing an old woman staring back. Inspired by a series of photographs entitled "Evelyn" -- which depicts a former artist's model in her declining years, still full of life and facing death with flair and wit -- Byer finds a voice to contemplate the enigmatic but inevitable process of growing old.
Byer opens her book with a ten-poem sequence, In the Photograph Gallery. "'Who is she?' / a child hanging on to her mother's skirt / asks, as if she is frightened / by what she sees. 'Just a little old lady, ' / her mother soothes / 'That's all she is.'" By placing Evelyn herself in the gallery to respond to the photos, and hear that exchange, Byer opens the door into the inner life of this "little old lady."
Part Two moves into more personal, mythological territory as the images of Evelyn and the poet's own recollections coalesce. The final section draws closer to Evelyn's dark hour, her humor in the face of death, her memories, her acknowledgment of her sexuality, her letting go.
Catching Light is a profound inquiry into aging and how one remarkable woman faces it, sings to it, mocks it, rebels against it, and ultimately embraces it.
About the Author
Kathryn Stripling Byer is the author of four poetry collections, including Black Shawl and Wildwood Flower, winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina.
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