Advance Comment
Empty Room with Light


"In her first book, Ann Hostetler combines her painter's eye with a sensitivity to language informed by her work as a literary scholar. Her poems are filled with images of the world and populated with delightfully willful beings caught in the act of making lives with whatever is at hand. In some instances, the poems are conversations overheard; in others, they seem to be notes, written with insight and haste from quiet moments in a busy life. Here are a mother's poems for her children, a daughter's poems for parents and grandparents, poems for sisters and students, even some poems for a self. I appreciate the honest way this work traces the impatient negotiations of a Baby Boomer's life--admitting its fast food and undone laundry, celebrating family's small but significant joys, all the while, never relenting her utterance. In one poem, she says, 'I want you to know I was there,/ a soul on a journey.' And we do. "
--Julia Kasdorf

"In this collection, Ann Hostetler turns family and its daily routines into poetry high mass, with all the garments, incense, and sensuality that often accompany ritual. Here a daughter traces the surface of her mother's bathwater with her fingertips; a son in blue nylon shorts and high tops helps iron napkins that turn to prayer flags. I particularly love the Old Order family poems where Ordnung is still kept and pansies bloom inside whitewashed tractor tires. With intelligence, and precise imagery and language Hostetler's poems reach into the rush and plenty of family, making luminaries out of all."
—Susan Firer

"These are poems that beautifully enact the passing of family history and ritual from generation to generation, recording for us the recurrent journeys we often take between joy and sorrow, and affirming what can stand when all else falls--the love that ties us to our lives and to each other. Ann Hostetler has written a strong and moving first book."
—Gregory Djanikian


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Copyright 2002 by Cascadia Publishing House (the new name of Pandora Press U.S.)
11/18/02