Sandra Ann Winters’ poems are refreshingly direct, heroic in their address of the issues at the heart of the human condition. A natural empathy for the ‘individual journey’ is leavened by a superb mastery of her chosen craft, what Joyce calls a ‘scrupulous meanness.’ Her experience of growing up in rural North Carolina along with her extensive travels in Ireland bring a unique dimension to a poetry that transcends geographic and socio-cultural divides. How she unpeels the masks that would distract us from an assessment of our true selves is quite unique in modern poetry. A most welcome and timely addition to the canon of Irish poetry.
EUGENE O’CONNELL, Editor Cork Literary Review
In The Place Where I Left You, Sandra Ann Winters has given us poems that disturb our comforting myths of family, place, and self – themes that testify to quotidian heroism in simple acts of persevering: the will to plant, to wash greens, mow hay, paint rooms, to “hang on.” Whether in rural North Carolina, or the high haunts of Yeats and Lady Gregory, these thematic loci are the universal landscape out of which all human individuation emerges and, sometimes, transcends.
Winters’ poems are word paintings, and, like the impressionist masters the poet emulates, her carefully wrought pictures establish life, but from a distance. The distance, as in “The Kitchen,” separating the poet’s strategic act of copying Monet’s mustard-colored walls from the inanity of picking “yellow nits” from her son’s hair; or the distance in time, the decade elapsed between the planting and abandonment of an unsuccessful wisteria vine that suddenly bursts into an “explosion” of lavender. A distance traveled, survived, through all the ways we humans fail and, sometimes, save each other, or ourselves. Winters’ palette is expunged of the rosy; her touch, hot, in pursuit of the “mot juste.”
The editor of Ireland’s Cork Literary Review, Eugene O’Connell, calls Winters’ collection a “welcome and timely addition to the canon of Irish poetry.” The same might be said for American letters.
JANET JOYNER, author of Waterborne
Listen to Sandra read her poem “Living Will”