Towards the Forest
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"These are poems that examine the strangeness of the self, the hardships of a shared life with someone we can't help hurting or being hurt by, the pain of living without and the grappling with lost love, the way such loss shadows us, 'the new companion that follows.' Mason is a poet who knows 'the limits of language/fill the sky,' and it is into that vastness that she breathes these daring, beautiful words." Natasha Trethewey, author of Domestic Work and Bellocq's Ophelia
The landscape of Holaday Mason's poems is most often a haunted, nocturnal landscape, a landscape of broken dreaming and calling blossoms, of shadows that shift with the wind, an erotic and dangerous and beautiful place. Mason shows us a world that's dark and graceful, full of human doom, and of love. She writes with a breathtaking—sometimes breathless—lyricism, with extravagant passion and with unflinching nerve.
Cecilia Woloch author of Sacrifice, Tsigan and Late
In her heartbreaking and wondrous new collection, Dissolve, Holaday Mason accomplishes the seemingly impossible act of making the unraveling of marriage into a theater of luminous wisdom. In showing us how love itself is often insoluble even in the grieving for a past, she illuminates the complex process of reckoning and forgiveness... Elegant in their composure and electric in their passions, these poems combine to make a try extraordinary collection. David St. John, author of The Red Leaves of Night, The Face: A Novella in Verse and Prism.
Reading Holaday Mason's Towards the Forest, one feels in the hands of someone driven, someone who knows her way around the interior life of the mind and the imagination, one who takes risks and is brave. There's not a false note or false step, each emotion deeply felt and ringing true. In images memorable and sharp as cut-glass, she lays down her "beauties" in ways that reverberate, leading us to a fish that surprises—like the cop hidden behind the billboard—because we didn't expect truth's reckoning to be waiting there for us. My impression on first reading this collection and with each subsequent reading was "Wow! This is poetry." Alice Friman, author of The View from Saturn", Vinculum and The Book of the Rotten Daughter.
from, Towards the Forest
The mock orange like a rumor
is nothing in the wind,
Under the pepper tree's constantly falling leaves
I am small. Stars wound the nothingness
with shreds of light like memories.
This is a concealed backyard. But,
it's never really still.
There's someone else's dog, clock, door, bamboo,
TV, chimes, electricity,
everything so filled with movement all the time.
In the darkness, tassels of wisteria--
violent lavender snow, I recall how,
once on the edge of a Pasadena ravine, I was raped
until in my mind I agreed to take him
inside, became another woman,
one who consented and so, for a moment,