Angular Embrace

Angular Embrace

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Author: Sylvia Cavanaugh 

Publisher: Kelsay Books (2018)

"Sylvia Cavanaugh’s angular embrace includes Celtic knots and Molly Maguires, gravy made from caramelized scraps, spice cake 'tasting of . . . butterscotch radiance,' ironed button-down shirts and mothers in aprons, roller skates tightened by silver keys, rusted barbed wire fences and Black-eyed Susans, the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . In other words, she embraces the world and everything in it, and your life will be all the richer for reading these poems."

–Barbara Crooker

"Vividly conjuring both place and time—Pennsylvania in the 1960s and 70s—Angular Embrace assembles a cast of characters both mythically familiar and piercingly unique. 'Wilderness and domesticity wrestle' in these clear-eyed and haunting poems about the often hardscrabble life of an Irish-American family. This is a collection full of arresting glimpses of the past—small, intimate epiphanies that point to a larger tale about the multifarious costs of the industry fueling the American dream: a city girl on metal skates 'rolling carefree over cracks / and pits'; a coal miner who builds a tree-house floating 'impossibly upward' on the limbs of twin ash trees whose roots probe 'deep into the carbon root / of the mountain.'"

–Catherine Jagoe

"Sylvia Cavanaugh’s memories in this collection of poems breathe life into the mysteries of the wonder of nature through a child’s eyes. But she also has a keen awareness of the adult she has become. Throughout the collection, the play between light and dark casts shadows between joy and distrust. One of my favorite poems is 'Spice Cake' where the invisible between the lines, (the silence of one), becomes an anthem to the believers of the possible. Sylvia knows the secret language of words and feelings, and she can translate them for you."

–Joseph Weitzel