My newest poetry book Inclusions is currently available on Amazon.
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These mostly short, lapidary lyrics present to the reader not only a fallen world of detritus, missed emotional connections, thoughtless consumption, empty gratification, but also a world of fragile and fleeting beauty, raptures that last “but a fraction of a second,” and art-making that redeems us. A town’s soul leaks away as globalization grinds everyone and everything to sameness; a bishop’s suit in a window is “a skin missing a body”; and a price is put on everything: “The trees have turned into business letters.” This is simply the “now,” as Kurowska sees it. But these are spiritual poems, though the god evoked—invoked—is not the property of any single group or mission. In the title poem, the speaker longs “to make sure/that i, too, am included/in the world deposited/on God’s tongue.” And always, the human possibilities, and the beauty of the world, are what we transcend to. In the final poem, to her son who asks what the meaning of life is, the poet replies, “Next to me, a feather swirls/In the air. A draft carries it/When the window is open” … To me, this is a lovely, non-Western image of the inclusion the poet prays for.
— James Cummins
Inclusions is a book of surprising, reflective encounters with things as small as ants and as big as God. The ants, however, are big enough to make us think about the meaning of life and death. God, on the other hand, is small and light enough to fit into a snowflake. The poems listen to silence, loved ones now gone, cupboards and birds. Joanna Kurowska’s slender verses pray by playing and masterfully lead the reader to the realization that “knowing is letting go.”
— Katia Mitova