Set Down Here is my first full-length collection. Its three parts are a mixture of everyday sorrows, like a daughter's divorce from a loved son-in-law, and tragedies of great moment, like the Holocaust.

          Part 1,"Following Days," contains poems troubled by failed and painful relationships, poems of regret, and poems of pervasive sadness for all the days that slide into the abstraction of yesterday--sadness, that is, for pastness itself. The joy of life, these poems say, is a coordinate of possibility, but possibility constricts as time goes on. Death enters in many guises; it is "the bones beneath the little whiskered face" of an organ grinder's monkey, "crossbars blown off the trunks of the letter "t."

          Part Two, "White Smoke" introduces an edgy hopefulness; unhappiness makes one see more clearly, and if one sees more clearly for a long enough time, one sees that light plays among the shadows. Circumstances, no matter how bleak, disappointing, or tragic, are touched with love or beauty or pleasure or, most often, with the epiphany that death does not have the last word. In some poems aging brings a warmer and more open heart, in others, death arrives with the promise of continuation and rebirth; in one poem, eternal dying becomes a song of eternal coming to life.

          Part Three is composed of one 8 page poem, the book's title poem. Life with all its trivialities and disappointments is yet clung to; paradoxically, one wants the trivialities and disappointments to go on for a long long time. It seems a compounded injustice that life is both short and disappointing. Life transcends life. Day follows day, age follows youth, and the worm of regret and disappoint lies curled inside happiness, but never so completely that one forgets the stars from which one came.

A Review:
Writing with fluid grace, Lolette Kuby has accomplished a happy union of body, mind and spirit. What distinguishes this collection are both Kuby's fusion of small details with big subjects and her confessions of doubt interspersed with leaps of faith. Toned with humor and a wry observation of life, Set Down Here reinforces Kuby's earlier nonfiction work, Faith and the Placebo Effect, offering her readers another glimpse--this time a poetic one which is both compelling and immediate--into the innate healing power of the human spirit. Although Kuby captures in her poems the sad sense of "life sailing by and the water closing behind," more than simple resignation to the inevitable is going on here. She is proffering poems that--though grounded in realism--succeed in pointing beyond fear, death, inevitable change and strained relationships to the magic and mystery of life and love.

Read an excerpt

Back-cover page and where to buy: SET DOWN HERE