The Art of Falling by Julia Wendell features a fine-wrought collection of poems that explore both intimate and universal themes — from human vulnerability to embracing change, from falling to developing a creative and austere spirit, from the relationship between father and daughter to the connection with animals. Wendell translates the fears of the human heart, the inimitable sense of longing, and human experience into words that take a life of their own.
These poems are rhythmic and the timely linebreaks, as well as the diction, deliver a song that is thrilling and resonant. The author speaks about pain and struggles with a clarity that will strike strong chords in the hearts of readers. It is the instance when: ''Each moment, another/ stab and spasm,/ on our way to never being whole. /One night, I dragged myself to the house,/ because I couldn’t take another step.'' The use of the personal pronoun dominates the poems and gives an intimate feel to the overall reading experience. The relationship between father and daughter is captured with vivid imagery: ''When your father lifts you
onto that warm, forgiving back,/ higher than you’ve ever been before.'' One of the poems I loved the most is ''Good Girl, Lying Girl,'' one that talks about a young girl who is eager to please: ''I answer when I am spoken to,/ genuflect when told./ I have many things to say / but don’t say them.'' The author writes about nature and life in a voice that is gripping and observant, with strong references to the seasons. It is beguiling and transporting, offered with a diction that casts a spell on readers as they navigate each world contained in each poem.
The Art of Falling is astonishingly entertaining and clever, and Julia Wendell comes across as a poet who masters the economy of word — none is wasted. This poignant collection offers a variety of poems that are solidly written, each a piece of art on its own, each driving an emotion that is resonant, each opening a portal for readers to explore life. The simple observations in these poems about the humdrum experiences of everyday life provoke reflection in readers. A gorgeous offering for fans of poetry.