Skip to content

Family Bonds in Two New Poetry Collections

Saturday Review: What Survives Of Us: a review by Anna McFadyen
Alana Dagenhart. Yellow Leaves: Poems.
Cheryl Wilder. Anything That Happens: Poems.

in the upcoming NCLR 2023 Winter Online issue

McFadyen walks through two poetry collections, noting how “in their debut poetry collections, Alana Dagenhart and Cheryl Wilder survey death, tragedy, and family bonds with unwavering frankness.” Like many poets before them–Kathryn Stripling Byer, Robert Morgan, Lisel Mueller (all names in the review)– these poets are delving deep into human psychology and memory.

Alana Dagenhart’s Yellow Leaves explores a close and loving relationship with her deceased father.” McFadyen touches on the recurring thematic elements of ghosts and Latin American culture.

Cheryl Wilder’s collection Anything That Happens tells the story of an irrevocable choice.” A car crash is the impetus for the poems in this book. McFadyen notes there is much about family: both birth and death provide for transformation in the narrator.

McFadyen writes, “Although these collections differ in tone and theme, such as their explorations of happy or unhappy families, each poet’s craft achieves a simi-lar sense of animation, and both personas’ grief moves toward the possibility of closure.”

Read the rest of the review now (from the online issue coming in February!) and buy the books at your local independent bookstore.