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The poems in Janelle Adsit’s Unremitting Entrance take root in and spring from the wedge driven between the living and the loved one lost to sudden death. The desire to dissolve the divide, at once futile and incessant, turns each poem into a study of the intimate and unbridgeable space between the I and the irretrievable other. The poems seek wisdom from color, from the objects left behind by and in lieu of the loved one, and from the body—the site of contact and separation—to give the disappearance that is beyond negotiation a form, to make it perceptible and, if possible, comprehensible. A love letter to the dead, this book inhabits the need to memorialize while recognizing the fictions it constructs. A love letter to the living, the book rehearses the efforts of those who remain to fill in the impenetrable absence and to resurrect themselves, however provisionally, from another death, the kind that unbearable grief brings.
Conchitina Cruz, author of Dark Hours and elsewhere held and lingered
Grief shatters us, breaks us open, changing us forever from the person we were. When we lose someone we love, the person we were dies too, and we have to forge a new existence for ourselves in order to live in a world without our loved one. Unremitting Entrance is about living in that world. In these shattered and shattering poems about the death of her sister, Janelle Adsit grasps at pieces of memory: “I collect these things—chunks, shards, / the wrapped, the waning / hold their incomplete damage . . .” With her broken images and halting narrative, she has written a book of poetry about the kind of grief that almost cannot be expressed, and in doing so she makes a new life from the shards of the past, both for herself and for her lost sibling.
Carolyn Miller, author of After Cocteau and Light, Moving
Janelle Adsit has written us a weather book, a Colorado-body book, a dead sister book wherein sis and self, can be found anywhere: from the “ear’s innermost chamber” to “the sleeves violently indifferent.” Unremitting Entrance creates pockets: pockets of land (“how durable are the colors of nature”), pockets of psyche (“grief is site-specific”) even deific pockets (“there are 63 angels in our parents’ house. They are gods of the gaps”). In these pockets is an odd coming of age account—the “promise before a promise could be said.” Adsit is showing us how, if we are brave enough to “let it be,” even if that let means to allow ourselves to go loose regarding our traumas, the lyric that indelibly holds us into our day to day will refine, will grow us (rather than would a rootless, un-planted lyric). From an initial onslaught of suffering at an irreconcilable loss comes the dynamic of a life lived (“unwrap sight and sound”). What a miracle! “No answers. Only rain, latches, spinning”.
j/j hastain, author of Graphomania
Janelle Adsit’s poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in journals such as Sixth Finch, Caketrain, Mid-American Review, and Colorado Review. She received a PhD in English from SUNY Albany and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.