Elizabeth Coleman writes that “every note goes / to the end // of the universe, / and must be beautiful,” and indeed if we are to judge from these poems she is… correct. From family to God, to Google, to a game of Canasta, Coleman allows us to experience each small note, each observation as a means for understanding that universe. Here the moon is a kite, a train station ceiling a constellation as she links the mundane and the transcendent into her own unique and wonderful vision.
In these deeply human (therefore quirky and unique) poems, Elizabeth Coleman exhibits an engagement with the world and its inhabitants that is sometimes humorous and sometimes piercing and always fresh. A splendid collection.
Through her keen eye, Elizabeth Coleman shows us the world in all its particulars and paradoxes. Her poems celebrate family and friendship even as they acknowledge loss. Part of the wisdom of these poems is to see that with suffering there is always a choice to be made, a move toward or away from greater humanity. The sidewalk, the café, graveside, mountainside, courtroom, courtyard, hospital, recital hall—they’re all here, fully lived, perfectly played, phrase after phrase, an offering: Proof indeed is proof of the meaning we can, if we choose, make.
Elizabeth Coleman takes it all personally, though she knows—and says that Buddhists don’t. She is in love with life and relishes the gifts—even including mortality—in plain, but cunning, speech. We will get good things from her.
Elizabeth J. Coleman is the author of Let My Ears Be Open (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and The Saint of Lost Things (Word Temple Press, 2009), two chapbooks of poems. In 2012, Proof , this collection, was a finalist for the University of Wisconsin Press’ Brittingham and Pollak prizes. Elizabeth’s poetry has been published in the journals Connecticut Review, Raintown Review, 32 Poems, Per Contra, Blueline, and Peregrine, among others, and her poems appear in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, and in the forthcoming Poetry in Medicine Anthology to be released by Persea Books. A 2012 recipient of an MFA in Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Elizabeth is also an attorney and guitarist. She can be visited on the Web at www.elizabethjcoleman.com.