Blue Hydrangeas, by Lois Read
By Elizabeth M. Marshall
Blue Hydrangeas is a beautifully evocative title for a beautiful book of poems that reflect the miraculousness of everyday things and the eternity of nature.
Simple things, often things from a gentler time, a time gone by. Do not be lulled by the gentleness of this collection, as each poem packs a punch, albeit tender rather than preachy. Lois Read’s poems often take the reader unawares with their delightful surprise of meaning.
These poems, safely enclosed in Blue Hydrangeas, invite the reader to mentally wander, to remember. While reading this book, I almost felt as if I were on my grandmother’s wrap-around southern porch, snuggled into a huge pillow-filled white wicker chair sipping mint-flavored tea. It all felt so familiar, and I felt safe.
The author is from New England where they also have big front porches filled with pillows and white wicker furniture. Read’s poems are timeless and placeless—poems with which most readers can relate. This poet’s word usage is almost tactile. Consider this example from her poem “Travelling”:
“in Turkey as I watched the Dervish dance
my fingers raced to catch them as they flew.”
And another example from her poem “Piñata”:
“However you dress it up in crepe paper
and shape it into stars
it is still touch and go
because you swing blindly
…hoping to spill out sweets
…if only you connect
…a simple act of hope
and sweet reward
for those who journey
without knowing what it is they seek
Yet lash out in the
darkness of their days
scramble for the prize
should they chance to hit the mark.”
Lois Read is a practical here-on-earth poet whom I dub “the mistress of metaphor.”
She is a retired teacher of art and art history who drew the picture for the cover of the book, a pastel of blue hydrangeas. Read received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master of arts in teaching from Wesleyan University, and continued her art studies at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, Ecole de Beaux Artes in Lacoste, France, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Read is a long-time half-year resident of San Miguel de Allende and a beloved member of the poetry community in Mexico.
Read, a prolific poet, has published four books of poetry and three poetry chapbooks illustrated with water colors.
Blue Hydrangeas will be available for sale in San Miguel at the end of December and will be available for checkout at La Biblioteca at that time. It may also be purchased from Amazon.com as well as other selected sources on the Internet.