Available Light is a poetry collection that illuminates what it means to be human. Whether facing the uncertainties of youth, the struggles of relationship, the sometimes punishing efforts of parenthood, or the difficulties of simply existing as a fully functioning person, these poems maintain our job is to part the shadows and gather “whatever light lies waiting.” Balancing themes of doubt with faith, and loss with acceptance, the collection remains fiercely hopeful through the confusion we all share in making sense of this world. No matter what darkness pushes against us, the light that endures is not only brilliant, but endless.
Praise for Available Light
Sandy Coomer’s work spans heaven and earth in this new book of poems. A good dreamer, she visits invisible worlds, and shines a lyrical light on this visceral home of ours, this body, this world. “I’m smoke and smite,” she sings, “the bright trill of the whistle and the blink of the crossties.” So much to admire here, to read and reread, by a poet who spends much of her time promoting, nurturing the work of others. It’s surely time for her own work to come into its own, as it does beautifully, gracefully, fiercely, in Available Light.
—Marilyn Kallet, author of How Our Bodies Learned
“What is to give light must endure burning,” writes Viktor Frankl, and as much fire as light flares in Sandy Coomer’s debut collection, Available Light. This painterly, searching work holds aloft its torch of “memory and mercies,” bearing witness to the loves and losses that burn deepest in our “blue-bruised hearts.” Light shifts for better or worse in our lives, just as these poems shine and storm, compelled toward unfailing brilliance.
—Linda Parsons, author of Mother Land and This Shaky Earth
“Unlearn the cage you built / to keep yourself safe… / and let it begin in the breath.” Sandy Coomer’s Available Light dares the reader to enter this collection of visionary and carefully crafted poems, beginning with those who “already see / this world is a balance of shadows.” “The Minotaur’s Last Interview” celebrates a lifetime of experiences, a speaker determined to share both the good and the not-so-good circumstances of this world: “When you write my story, don’t leave out any part of it, even the ending.” In artful lines, these lush poems remind the reader that “I am as close to love as I allow / myself to be” while also urging her to be generous and vulnerable on this journey called life: “So what if my heart is broken. / That’s part of a heart’s job.” Just like the “Visit from my Lost Child” who “unzips my skin, climbs in, wraps his arms / around my heart,” Coomer’s poems masterfully weave around the reader’s heart and linger, long after the cover is closed.
—KB Ballentine, author of Almost Everything, Almost Nothing