She Calls the Moon by Its Name, a powerful and haunting series of poems, follows a nineteenth-century farm woman in spiritual isolation as she finds strength in naming what is alive around her—or even hidden in plain sight. She seeks the names of moons, of animals, of fields and stones, of children and lost babies, and in the process, what is solid and earthborn learns to live patiently with what is not.
Longing intersects with duty. Dream life intersects with waking life. The natural weaves with the spiritual. Predictability is swept away as one woman’s vibrant inner life quietly explodes to evoke vivid and prophetic changes in her world. Poet and essayist Faye Moscowitz calls these poems “a sublime journey of loss, mourning, and renewal.”
In her stunning poetry collection, Lonnie Hull DuPont deconstructs and reconstructs the past. She evokes a time and place (Moscow Plains, Michigan, 1885) and inhabits them so completely, it blurs our sense of the past and present. The result is a mesmerizing biography-in-poems of a woman awash in loneliness and isolation whose salvation is the natural world. This unnamed woman immerses herself in that world—in the glowing light of its moon, its pale pink dawn, its milk glass snow—in order to survive the tragedies of death and loss. In one of the most powerful poems, two women (a mother and grown daughter) both grieve their dead children. Here, there is no barrier between the living and the dead: the living tend graves and lovingly collect mementos; the dead hold a bowl of raspberries and burn through a blizzard straight to God. The book is filled with these startling images—resonant and nuanced—like the discovery of a sparrow’s nest “made entirely of her own hair.” She Calls the Moon by Its Name is a seamless collection which embraces all that truly matters—life, death, the resilience of the natural world and the human spirit. DuPont creates an unforgettable landscape, an unforgettable persona. They both shimmer and sing.
—Linda Nemec Foster, author of The Blue Divide and Bone Country
She Calls the Moon by Its Name is a sublime journey of loss, mourning, and renewal.
—Faye Moskowitz, essayist, former poetry editor of Moment, and author of A Leak in the Heart
Lonnie Hull DuPont’s She Calls the Moon by Its Name stuns with its quiet acceptance of the constant cohabitation of wonder and grief. In poems created with the unpretentious and sacred elegance of Shaker furniture, DuPont takes us back to the late 1800s and, through the world of “She,” gives us one of the great good gifts of authentic art: life as we will never know it. We soon realize we’re sitting on the farmhouse front porch listening to the soft-spoken, brave, loving music of plainsong. DuPont’s collection is a remarkably refreshing accomplishment of imagination, understanding, intelligence, and artistry enabling us to admire the noble endurance of “She” and those who share her life of unending work both physical and spiritual. As we near the time of the pink moon, we read in a whisper, “She touches his arm./All these years.” and we leave wondering what we’ve lost while we’ve been assuming that we’ve gained.
—Jack Ridl, author of Practicing to Walk Like a Heron, recipient of the Best Collection of Poetry Award from ForeWord Reviews
Lonnie Hull DuPont’s poems are accessible, engaging, and rich with original imagery. I have heard her read poems from this collection, and the experience was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. She is a very fine poet.
—M. L. Liebler, award-winning Detroit poet and editor of RESPECT: Poets in Detroit Music (MSU Press)
Lonnie Hull DuPont
has been writing poetry all her reading life. Her poems are widely published, and her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. After living many years in Greece, New York City, and San Francisco, she now resides in rural Michigan in the county where she was born, very close to where the poems in this book take place.