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Altars Of Ordinary Light

June Sylvester Saraceno

Altars of Ordinary Light, in part, revives powerful memories of a coastal childhood with imagery as sharp as the scent of low tide in a salt marsh. June Sylvester Saraceno focuses a subject, adjusts the light and angle until it reveals what we have been too busy to see—the eloquence and sanctity of the everyday. These poems nicely balance light and dark, humor and sorrow. In "Scars," she writes: "My body is a book / I reread the lines to find/ the fierce allegory of old adventures." Most of these poems have an urgency, and they compel as adventures do. Altars of Ordinary Light is an impressive debut.

Peter Makuck, author of Off Season in the Promised Land, Sunken Lightship, Where We Live, and Against Distance.

The title is apropos for a book that seeks to shed light on ordinary living—childhood, family, marriage, womanhood. Saraceno's verse is accessible, yet filled with vivid imagery. Each poem begs to be reread to gain understanding of not only the poet but the reader.

Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, Burned and Impulse

June Sylvester Saraceno opens the door of her childhood in a southern, Christian home, and introduces us to her mother, her sterner father, and her cousin, who cried for birds, who accidentally ran over a child. She lets us into the anger and pain she turns into drops of blood. Then we see her leave, home first, then marriage, to travel to France, Germany, Vancouver: waiting, waiting. Home again, she hears "You just have to stop thinking about yourself and dance." She does. These are honest, generous poems.

Lola Haskins, author of Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner's Guide to the Poetic Live, Solutions Beginning with A, and many collections of poetry including Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems, Extrajera, The Rim Benders Hunger, Forty-Four Ambitions for the Piano and Castings.

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