Poetry is a field of writing that requires a bit more attention to read than does fiction or non-fiction. Poetry lacks the linear motion of prose. Lingering over a poem, gently contemplating the words, thoughts and emotions of the poet can leave a satisfied feeling with the reader, depending on the poet. With Leap, Canadian Poet Heather Grace Stewart has crafted a collection of poetry and photographs that is very satisfying.
Subjects in this collection run the gamut from the tragedy of 9/11 to the joys of parenthood, to simply observing and recording the world around her. Her inspirations are quite clear and quite accessible. That accessibility is what makes Leap a success as a collection. Stewart has taken poetry out of the Academy and placed it in the hands of people eager to be inspired to create and not be baffled by the poets meaning.
Her poems are clear, honest and rich in detail. Sorrow, confusion, love, satisfaction and humor are to be found in her words. At times playful, and at others as subtle as a Mack truck, Stewart lays out her thoughts and feelings in a fashion that is both enjoyable and thought provoking. With a clarity of vision and writing that is deceptively simple, yet all the more rewarding for the thoughtfulness in the poems.
Richly illustrated with sharp color photographs, all save one taken by Stewart herself, the book reads quietly yet fluidly. There is a grand flow, a deliberate pace and building and letting down of emotions and subject matter. Serious thought went into the ordering of the poems, and placement of the photographs to create more than a poetry collection, but a journey. That journey being life through the eyes of the poet.
Poets are tasked with writing that which can't be said any other way. Heather Grace Stewart does that exceedingly well in this collection of poems. She writes of an array of subjects with an understanding of them. In doing so, she shows us ourselves. That is a rare gift.