judge's Comment for the Lena Shull Book Award Honorable Mention:
In “Like Wind Into Air” you will find layers of healing and redemptive poetry. This collection explores themes of the outdoors, farms, horses, the seasons, nature and how it heals us, even when listening for “the patient clomp of hooves.” The work here is lyrical and strikes a chord. As you immerse yourself in this collection, you will acquaint yourself with “some wizardry, some alchemy, and these bones.” In each carefully constructed poem, you will find the beauty of storms and solstice, a hawk’s red tail, a hunched silhouette, crouching cedars, and a gibbous moon. This book will feed the soul and remind us, in carefully crafted language, that “there is always a wind in the woods.”
—Connie Post, Author of Prime Meridian and Between Twilight
Joanie McLean’s stunning new collection of poems has the luminosity of a mind deeply trained in meditation. The often spare and startling beauty of her images reflect what Buddhists call “bare attention,” and the resulting spaciousness of her verse creates a fullness that is beyond words. McLean is a farmer with the soul of a Zen monk-- a master of letting things speak for themselves. Reading these poems leaves one touched, haunted, and longing to touch what she has touched.
—Stephen Cope, Scholar-in-Residence, Kripalu Center; Bestselling author of The Great Work of Your Life
In this quiet, moving collection, Joanie McLean asks us to join her in the “silky russet” and “falling light” of her world. We meet larks rising, a bay horse calling, killdeers circling-- all of whom speak, as all living beings do, if we only listen as carefully as this poet does. We also read our mortality in lines about Covid’s imposition into this gentle world, and mark our fragility in the context of the crows “in the melting snow…the sifting fog.” These gracious poems ask us to linger in their short lines, to witness and respect the natural world and interrogate our part in it.
—Gretchen Primack, Author of Kind
About the Author
Joanie McLean is an ecologist and poet who lives in Silk Hope, North Carolina. She holds degrees in Botany from UNC - Chapel Hill and in Wetland Ecology from Duke University. She is the winner of the New Millennium Writings Prize for Poetry, and a three time finalist for the James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in and won awards from many journals and magazines. Like Wind Into Air is her 4th poetry collection and winner of an Honorable Mention for the NC Poetry Society’s Lena Shull Book Award.(www.joaniemclean.com)
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