Occasionally, a reviewer gets lucky. A book comes along that has the tensile strength to endure for years and the sheer beauty to capture a reader’s heart. Keep and Give Away by Susan Meyers is one of these, a book that may never stray far from the desk or favorite armchair of anyone lucky enough to have picked it up in the first place. It is also a book that readers will want to share with others. . . .
Meyers’s greatest strengths here include a vision that is clear and unsentimental combined with language so finely crafted that it is rather like gold hammered to thinnest leaf for the sake of art. Part of the craft here grows from the poet’s willingness to work with received form (the villanelle, the ghazal) along with free verse and conventional stanzas to bring the reader into a layered world that is achingly beautiful and acutely painful, a world that nonetheless allows poet and reader alike to find the balance points, those astonishing manifestations that let us keep footing through the slow painful death of a loved one, the ups and downs of a long relationship, the journey all of us make through our lives. . . .