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Beside the Well, Poems by Donna Emerson

Rooted in her family homestead in western New York, poet Donna Emerson takes us from wells, woods, meadows, horses, family and strangers, to music, ocean and earth in her current California. In plainspoken diction, narrative and lyric styles, the poet records memorable, time-stopping moments of intimacy.

Sample Poems by Donna Emerson

"The poems in Beside the Well dip into the great well of life and bring truth and beauty to the surface. There are childhood memories here, also joy and sorrow, danger, transcendent moments, and abundant love. Still, there will always be mysteries for contemplation: 'Secrets gather,/weave among the blossoms./Owls, unseen, won't tell.'" -Lucille Lang Day, author of Becoming an Ancestor: Poems

"'How to hold this majesty and manage fear at the same time?' the speaker asks in 'Stallion on the Road.' One way is with the balance and equanimity found in these poems. Beside the Well records moments of everyday intimacy shared with family, friends, lovers, and even a few strangers. Together they weave a sense that home is less a specific place than any time 'when we are all together.'"

-Rebecca Foust, author of Paradise Drive, Poet Laureate Emerita, Marin County

"Donna Emerson sees beyond looking, to the currents below the surface of ordinary subjects, finding simple truths in big life events, whether love, death, or the melancholy ache of loss. Emerson's poems enchant, delight, and startle, but always create a space for us to see the wisdom and folly in our own lives through her clear and candid observations in her world. Her poetry is like a stream that sometimes eddies or lingers, but always moves us surely and safely along the journey." -Rita M. Gardner, author of The Coconut Latitudes: Secrets, Storms and Survival

"When Donna Emerson's Grandpa introduces her to his simple well in his field, she feels 'important, let in on a secret. A mystery in the middle of the ground.' Indeed, many of the sensory-rich poems in Beside the Well spill over with secrets, taking us to places we've never seen but that are so well described we feel we know them. These poems sing with experience."-Iris Jamahl Dunkle, author of Interrupted Geographies, Poet Laureate Emerita, Sonoma County