The Yearning Life:
Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2016.
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Reviewed by Lynn Domina
The poems in Regina Walton’s first collection, The Yearning Life, are written by someone who is not only observant but also thoughtful, even contemplative. They consider questions without, as Keats so famously said, “any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” They often, therefore, straddle that boundary between poetry and prayer.
The opening poem, “Exemplum,” might have been written by one of the desert fathers or mothers. It relies on a direct style with short lines and stanzas, predominantly straightforward sentences, and accessible vocabulary (with one notable exception). Like many of the best poems in this style, its simplicity is deceptive. Here is the first stanza:
A fly lands
On my open book,
And rubs its fingerless palms together
Over the word askesis.