Following is an extract from "Ways of Going for Steve":"Will it be like paragliding -gossamer takeoff, seedlike drifting downinto a sunlit, unexpected grove?Or ski-jumping - headlong soaring,ski-tips piercing clouds,crystal revelations astonishing my goggles?...Skittery flicker of a glare-weary lizardstartled into the sheltering wings of a leaf,rusting freighter with a brimming holdshimmering onto a crimson edge...Sad rower pushed from shore,I'll disappear like circles summonedby an oar's dip.However I burn through to the next atmosphere,let your dear face be the last thing I see."Whether writing poems about North American life and landscape; or love poems; or elegies for family and friends; or poems on serious, debilitating illness and the transformations it can effect - Elise Partridge offers in "Chameleon Hours", words forged by suffering and courage. In true Virgilian style, Partridge builds poems a word and a line at a time, discarding all but the most perfect formulations for her verse. The result is a collection that is, paradoxically, both old-fashioned and innovative - in the best senses of those words.Full of wit and empathy yet utterly free of the sensationalism that mars so much contemporary verse, Partridge's poems draw inspiration from sources as whimsical as snails and frogs, as poignant as a homeless woman taking shelter inside a post office on a winter's night, and as deeply personal as her own diagnosis of cancer at a young age.Most of all, "Chameleon Hours" is a book about the rewards of being reminded of one's own mortality and the lyric expression of life in all its intensity.
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