Full disclosure: I knew Delta Eddy when she was Gary. The dedicatee of her elegy “Student,” Anthony Piccione (d. 2001), who is a central presence in Sparks, was an English Department colleague and close friend of mine. Delta writes, “I keep / walking toward my teacher’s home. He’s moved deeper into the woods, his poems crows / flying silent among bare trees.” And by way of this book, it’s as though Tony—I believe I can speak for him—and I are now in turn walking into our student’s house where we are feeling Emerson’s “perpetual revelation” by way of startling observation, concentrated voice, earned statements and leaps. But more: by way of Eddy’s imaginative power toward primal intelligence that questions everything but hopes, in the end, in part by way of poetry, to be of spiritual use, even as we “Dispose of ashes thus: / Everybody gets a cupful to spill / in their doorways on their icy steps” … Cosmic sparks to earthly flames to ashes, this breakthrough book will keep giving of itself to us, merging with us, as its strong and surprising and riveting poems keep realizing that “there is no soul / in birds or grass or me that is a separate thing.”
William Heyen, National Book Award Finalist, author of Nature: Selected & New Poems 1970-2020
These are poems from the earth and sky and they rise from a spirit that has moved mountains with a lifetime devotion to poetry. Delta Eddy’s vision is far reaching because what she sees brings us closer to the truths we carry in our lives. We turn to these poems because they not only sustain us through the music of faith but, they remind us of what the great poet Pablo Neruda once declared, “Poetry is power.”
Ray Gonzalez, author of Beautiful Wall and Feel Puma
Anchored in the earthly world, Delta Eddy’s poems are Orphic excavations that explore the subliminal, then arise to contemplate the heavens. These poems touch on the Biblical and Classical world of our forebearers but move into our contemporary world to ask our oldest question: “why?”
Ranging from “Why the Shakers Didn’t Write Poetry,” an ars poetica about poetry’s consolations in a difficult world, to lyric appreciation in “Why I Love Slimy Texas Blues,” Eddy’s images reverbate: “guitar licks pointy enough/to kill the roaches in the corners.”
“The Moment the Lightning” fuses the Biblical, the ecstatic, and the natural world in one brilliant lyric gasp.
Sparks looks back on a life of reading and writing with a longing for that early “hunger/for poetry.” The poems are a tender commentary on long relationships—familial and artistic––and though they address our attenuated attentions, Eddy reminds us of the poetic impulse to reach beyond ourselves. Sparks is a marvelous collection.
Elizabeth Oness, author of Fallibility and Leaving Milan