Local Forecast: Grist by Kate Peterson

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Grist by Kate Peterson (Floating Bridge Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

During my freshman year at Bennington College, a dance professor making a desperate attempt to teach us about our own bodies described the skeletal system as the scaffolding on which the body is built. She told us that often, in the study of anatomy, students discover a favorite system, one that they relate to most closely. In this anatomical personality test, I wasn’t invested in the names of folded muscle, the bundled, sensitive nerves, the rivers and tributaries of the circulatory system. Like Kate Peterson, I was a woman interested in bones. Continue reading

Review: I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing by Lucia Perillo

index.jpgI’ve Heard the Vultures Singing: Field Notes on Poetry, Illness, and Nature by Lucia Perillo (Trinity University Press, 2007)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

In memory of a favorite local poet, a woman I regret having never met.

I finished reading Lucia Perillo’s memoir, I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing, only a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that she’d spent decades living in the city I call home, this was the first time I’d finished a book of hers in its entirety – before her memoir, I’d read snippets of poems, fragments from each of her books.

Despite the fact that Perillo writes almost exclusively about chronic illness and her daily struggle to keep her body in motion, I was shocked to find that she’d passed away nearly a week ago, without the usual cacophony of the literary community. Continue reading