Review: Laura Budofsky Wisniewski’s collection of poems entitled Sanctuary, Vermont, April 3, 2022,

 

The best poetry exists in that sparse nether world between music and words, straddling both, blending harmony (assonance and consonance) rhythm (cadence and meter), and meaning (literal and metaphoric).

A recently released poetry collection achieves the best of both and delivers us transcendent poems deeply imbued with a sense of place… Vermont.

The collection, Sanctuary, Vermont by Laura Budofsky Wisniewski published by Orison Books sweeps us in breathtaking verse from the early 19th Century to today.

The beautifully crafted poems alight like a sparrow on various events and places in Vermont’s past and present from “Our Year Without Summer. 1816”

In June, when Prudence Lexter froze while fetching wood,

I took her seven children in, poor spindly dears.

They died all but the oldest girl, when the sickness came.

It struck us like a drunkard’s blow.

Boys took up spades to help George Franklin dig the graves,

but the stunned ground would not break.

 

 to today… “From a Map of the Region”

 

In the cave of the miscarried

I found a tiny bone

dry to my lip’s skin, cool as afternoon.

 In the meadow of last snakes

I found, for flaying, honed,

razor thin, a shard of stone.

 On the precipice of endless wind

I found a feather, black as blood, worn down

shaft hollowed, sheen gone.

On the lake of recurring dreams

I found the sliced moon

shaking, sinking, stunned.

This is what is meant by empty.

Wisniewski’s extraordinary skill at melding music and word to create a poetic resonance both instills her work with emotion and almost begs the reader to read the work aloud.

This is a unique collection and will become without question a staple of Vermont literature, although its excellence demands a much wider readership. I urge you to reach out to your local bookseller and get a copy of Laura’s collection. You will experience Vermont in ways you never would have imagined, ways that to this writer who writes principally about Vermont and has sought sanctuary here in small towns for 75 years, rings as true as the local church bells that peal on Sunday or the fire station sirens that sound each day at noon.

  • Bill Schubart, author Lila & Theron

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