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The Evolutionary Purpose of Heartbreak, Poems by Joanne Allred
In Joanne Allred's The Evolutionary Purpose of Heartbreak, the present is ever new, despite its gestures toward the eternal, as each moment passes: "for the few moments you munch/the apple, the world seems so fresh/it all remains to be written."
"'Nothing's empty of potential,' Joanne Harris Allred writes, and, in poem after tenderly crafted poem, she reveals the potential for rapture and heartbreak in every ordinary encounter. Allred writes of star clusters, not constellations. It is the smaller stories, the particular, which she grieves and celebrates: a migrating swan hit by a truck, gray fox bleeding in the road, the tragic orbit of the personal, coming close with its sparkling and then gone: children, friends, her beloved father. These are quiet poems; listen carefully: 'the heart converses / with life, vital but mostly unheard.' The form is so well woven that one doesn't notice it except in after-sound, a quiet seaming of rhyme to rhyme, as in a faith here that everything, even pain, is interconnected with bird and truck and weather and the lavender scent of fresh laundry."-Melissa Kwasny
"Imagine Eden and expulsion exist simultaneously: in The Evolutionary Purpose of Heartbreak, Joanne Harris Allred's elegant poems presume suffering but insist there is uncanny beauty in the balance of life's order and destruction, 'early narcissus...already breaking ground- / relentless life crushing up from oblivion.' These unsentimental elegies assay the cost of youthful hope, 'beauty stung by a promise,' and what it takes to survive the late winter landscapes of middle age, where the border between life and death shivers 'like a mirage,' and 'your own fist raised in a howl / is the only lantern you can follow.'"-Dorothy Barresi
Joanne Harris Allred was born and grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, but has spent most her adult life in California, where she taught for many years at CSU Chico. She lives in Butte Creek Canyon outside Chico with her husband, two dogs, a variable number of chickens, and a lush companionship of wildlife. Her previous poetry collections are Whetstone and Particulate.
ISBN 978-1625490216, 100 pages, $19.00