Of Hearts by Karen Dennison

Karen Dennison - Of Hearts

After reading the first poem in  Karen Dennison’s most recent book Of Hearts, (Broken Sleep Books, 2021), I discovered that Point Nemo is the spot on the earth furthest from any land and also the place where “retired spacecraft are sent”

Karen takes this strange fact and imagines a  life over time from the invincibility of a young woman in love, to her sudden descent into the ocean: “… knocked off course by junk and debris. For decades I lay on the seabed with other wrecks and remnants of life”. Will the speaker resurface after loss and grief? That’s the question.

Many of the poems  show us love-lost and grief, but they also give us a cosmic viewpoint blended with the human scale. The grandness of the Universe offers the gift of imagination, awe and perhaps comfort. For example, in “After you’re gone”, the speaker’s “heart’s a pulsar/ sweeping the night,/ warm breath on cold glass/ condensing to gas clouds,/ constellations … ”

Karen is really good at this melding of imagery, scale and emotions, and in “Moon song” she gives the moon a heart: “She knows the destitute, the homeless, feels / Their dust-cold shivers in her empty seas, drips/ her thought-tears on midnight …”

I grew up on a farm and I keep coming back to a brilliant image in poem “Cast adrift” where — “Houses huddle/ Like cows in rain. Clouds/ free-roam”.

Of Hearts is a collection which has found a warm spot in my heart. Order from the publisher here (and there’s a 2 poem sampler at the site).

Listen to Karen on You Tube read several of the poems here.

Check out this review at London Grip.

Karen is an excellent poet. I admire her work and recommend Of Hearts

And for those who are curious. Here is Point Nemo

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