How to See the World
Bottom Dog Press, 2020
How to See the World startles me awake, my vision clearer and my inner clock rewound. Paula J. Lambert's radical compassion asks us to "Rise up for what you believe in: the sun,/ the moon, the glaciers melting. Ancestors calling our names." Each poem wakes us to blossom, birdsong, breath. Her work ensures that we are more fully alive, more present.
--Laura Grace Weldon, author of Blackbird, 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year
Paula J. Lambert's poetry is always visionary, but visionary on a human scale. She sees with clarity not just the people near us, whom we can touch, but also those out of reach. Sanitizing groceries, we realize everything we do "now extends to something else, every touch, every thought, every/ worry, each fond thought." Still more, she touches people who may be lost to us, or seem so. A dead thrush found in the road is reminder that "The world is a terrible, beautiful/ place where those not with us are with us/ all the time." The poet's vision becomes our vision, and we are stronger and wiser for having seen the world--terrible and beautiful--through her eyes."
--Richard Carr, author of Our Blue Earth
In How to See the World, Paula J. Lambert takes us deftly along as she examines the new reality in which we've all awakened in 2020. She peels back its complicated layers with adept use of metaphor, as well as a revelatory tone that will have readers doubling back to unfold new meanings in a line, a verse, or a poem. Real moments of brilliance sparkle and call us to look beyond surface and pattern to recognize something beyond ourselves, even while we languish in a groundswell of change.
"Tell me moonlight can't speak," she writes, then convinces us that it can. While pandemic exists and is unavoidable, do not approach this collection as an outgassing of that reality. It is about much more: how interconnected we all are while teetering at the brink of change and that we must witness life's miracle, and not turn away.
--Rose M. Smith, author of Unearthing Ida