You Who Took the Boat Out by Alison Hicks
A woman in middle-age takes a canoe out onto the water at night and must discern obstacles barely visible to keep her craft afloat. Her reward is a vision of stars transformed as they are reflected back through water. Her guide is the loon, whose red eye is capable of seeing underwater, and whose wail echoes and beckons. An adolescent whose mother has become ill must traverse the big country she finds inside herself to find a life worth living. A daughter mourns a father. In this collection, Alison Hicks looks beneath the surface of our emotional lives to murky shapes: the twists and turns we are unable to predict, the scrape of love and the experience of being lost, the whimsy of our fantasies, visitation by spirit guides of myth and legend, things we try to keep secret and yet seek to reveal, the hurt that has happened and the tasks to be undertaken toward a larger vision and understanding, and the flash of occasional illumination.
Published: February 2017
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"You Who Took the Boat Out" by Alison Hicks is a marvelous collection that weaves in and out of a woman's life. From traveling to not traveling. From birth to death, and back again. From clear images to murky-edged shapes, Hicks defies what we expect in contemporary poetry.