While we might think that being a speck on a speck is some mere thing, Elizabeth Coleman’s poems remind us again and again that each being implicates all others. Here every hip, urban moment is in essential conversation with the past. With a remarkable eye for the tiniest, most salient details—the way the polished tip of a blind man’s cane recalls a mother’s painted nails and red lipstick—and a rare poetic ear for recalled and overheard conversation, this poet’s newest collection, The Fifth Generation, contends with what it means to truly belong, as the concentric rings of our commingled existence ripple outward. This is a book of the most tender intimacies, one in which the speaker reminds us that we are not only members of families but also the bound residents of cities, farms, cultures, histories, and nations, that each of us must finally see as home the whole peaceable kingdom.
Elizabeth J. Coleman is the author of Proof, a poetry collection (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014), a finalist for the University of Wisconsin Press’ Brittingham and Pollak prizes. She has also written Let My Ears Be Open (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and The Saint of Lost Things (Word Temple Press, 2009), two chapbooks of poems. Elizabeth is the translator into French of poet Lee Slonimsky’s Pythagoras in Love (Folded Word Press, 2015). Elizabeth’s poetry has been published in numerous journals, and her poems appear in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (2013), and Poetry in Medicine Anthology (Persea Books 2014). Elizabeth is also an attorney. She can be visited on the Web at elizabethjcoleman.com.