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Book Reviews

 Firecracker Red   Copyright 2010 ISBN 987-0-9826472-0-2 “Forward” As if guided by William Matthews’s Love needs to be set alight again and again, Stellasue Lee struggles throughout firecracker RED to center the heart, and teach it to penetrate the living fog that envelopes her after the death of her daughter Jillian, whose car flew from the highway into the afterlife. The moving collection details the journey from a place that is broken beyond repair to a world where there is hope, light, love. These poems teach us we must live with closure that death brings but that we must stay open to moments of communion and embrace rather than be swallowed by dailiness. Asthe caretaker of small things, Lee reminds us that we must savor quiet time on the morning porch, the call of a raggedy old mockingbird, and the taste of sweet lime juice in hot tea. Overcoming a difficult childhood where she lived in a state of frightened loneliness with a mother who drank and a father haunted by WWII, Lee leads us through the slickrock maze of daily living. At times she is even playful, putting a catnip mouse in the bath tub so her cat, Kaylee, could slip, paw, tumble and chase it all about. With the knowledge that no one survives the hold of love, Lee shows the risk inherent in daring to love at any age, teaching us that we must allow the heart to have its voice, to savor life and drown in gratitude at still being alive. These moving and compassionate poems create a bridge between life and death we all will cross. Concluding, Better to gather eel grass or ostrich eggs, than to despair, in Firecracker Red, Stellasue Lee confronts grief and the terrors of this world but does not allow them to cause her to forget the world’s ravishing beauty. This powerful collection of poems set squarely in the earth teaches us how to persevere. 

—Vivian Shipley, Editor of the Connecticut Review 

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Crossing the Double Yellow Line

copyright 2000, ISBN 0-941017-04-4
An exploration of life that pulls no punches and asks for no apologies. Reading “Crossing the Double Yellow Line” makes you retreat into the secret place we all keep inside. The place we think no one else can enter, no one else can warm. We withdraw there, only to find footprints in the snow.
 
 
An entrant for the Pulitzer!

 

  
 
 
 
 

 

 

  
Reviews
  
“The compressed poems in Crossing The Double Yellow Line take us to a sense of place, to loved ones by way of sharp turns and hair pin curves. I believe and trust the voices captured in these poems that drive us toward the vortex of what matters.”
-Yusef Komunyakaa
 
“Reading a poem written by Stellasue Lee is like a spiritual meditation upon what it means to be human in this world of joy and disappointment. I have personally witnessed the power and impact of her work on audiences from New Hampshire to Los Angeles. She has her finger delicately placed on our collective pulse.”
                                                                               – M.L. Liebler, Dir of YMCA Nat. Writer’s Voice Project of Detroit

 “Stellasue Lee has written powerfull father daughter poems of healing and forgiveness. She is a poet of deep insight and compassion.”                                                                               – Diane Wakoski 

Crossing The Double Yellow Line is an intricate and poignant journey as accessible and unpretentious as an open road. But the landscape is that of a human life, and Stellasue Lee navigates the twists and turns with remarkable facility as the trip takes us from pain to passion. As in any journey, discovery is the goal, and time and again, these poems do not disappoint.” 
                                                                                -James Michael Robbins, Editor, Sulphur River Lit. Review Press 
“Stellasue Lee’s poetry deserves a wide and serious audience. It has the power to heal us. This poetry speaks to us from a hand and head united, from a woman who has suffered, survived, and has built for herself a strength beyond that which is ordinary. It speaks for and to all of us at a spiritual level with potency and power. I will always treasure Crossing The Double Yellow Line because it does not just read like the best poetry, of the highest order, it reads like a memoir.” 

                                                                               – Willie James King 


  

copyright 1991, ISBN 0-94107-22-2A collection co-authored with Ronald Alexander, Cynthia Kulikov, and Ian Ranall Wilson. “After I Fall” is a chorus of four separate voices blended by the commonality of shared experiences. As individuals the authors are strikingly different, yet in this collection of sometimes tender, sometimes sad, and sometimes painful poems, they share the hurt and desires of everyday life.  
Review 

Stellasue Lee’s “Anniversary” is an impeccably simple description of a moment in marriage, but the poem gets kicked by the pun in the last line beyond personal anecdote to universal irony. “Things My Father Said” seems to exactly quote Lee’s father lecturing his daughter on how to paint a house. His lesson on how to be a good painter is also a lesson on how to be a good person. He wants her to know how to do things right. Stellasue brings the father to life but says nothing about the daughter’s response. It is an inspired reticence: because half the story is left out, there’s room for my imagination to take fire.”
 
                                                          – William Slattery         LIMITED QUANTITY STILL AVAILABLE