Maureen Hynes, in her fifth book of poetry, speaks tenderly yet vehemently about the threatened worlds that concern her. From Toronto, where she lives and walks the city’s afflicted watershed, she turns her attention to the near and far, shifting it from the First Nations’ stolen lands to Syria and the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean; from the deaths of family and friends to the newborns into whose care our endangered planet will pass; and from love’s transient regrets to the sustaining love two women share. Hynes’ is a gaze that grieves quietly, delights humbly, and, in the search for solace, never rests. Each poem in Sotto Voce is a recitative of healing. Hear the music in every word and, despite the damaged environments Hynes gives voice to, be restored.
This is a book that bears witness to the “dynamite stick of injustice,” one that balances fear and hope, gathering themes of history and human migration; of climate change and the pleasures of natural beauty; of women’s lives, both straight and queer; and finally, good fortune and renewal. Sotto Voce carries the complexity and seriousness of its themes lightly — it’s important to know when to speak loudly, and when to whisper.
Whether speaking about nature, or politics, or love, Maureen Hynes does so with candor and compassion. These poems are generous and assured, and the world they circumscribe is the urgent, beautiful, dangerous place where we all live. Read Sotto Voce.
Praise for Sotto Voce:
“Maureen Hynes is a poet at the top of her game.” — Helen Humphreys
“Maureen Hynes’s Sotto Voce offers brave whispers to a world too often prone to silence — and silencing. From environmental concerns to injustice and reminders to love, these poems soothe and celebrate, yet question and critique. Hynes serves as both truth seer and seeker as her wise meditations invite readers to reconsider the things that matter. Sometimes the softest voices are the loudest — and most meaningful.” — Jury, 2020 Pat Lowther Memorial Prize
“Her poetry is generous not only toward her readers, but also to the sharing community of other poets who contribute to the slant of not-so-simple forms… The subtleties of her voice and varied forms underscore the whisper of wisdom and the wisdom of whisper.” — Arc Poetry Magazine
Embrace the life force in these latest collections of poetry — Toronto Star