October 15, 2022
In part an homage to the natural world, Liz Nakazawa’s first full-length poetry collection reveals its author as more than a keen observer of birds, clouds, trees, flowers, and bodies of water. Turning to the human heart, she suggests that it’s our job to “hold others steady.” Visiting a Japanese Garden in bad weather, the poet disciplines herself: “I imagine instead of fog / a sunny day / and then decide / no, I promise to love this brash rain.” And immediately she turns to watch a koi as it “swims through branches” of a dogwood reflected in a pond. Nakazawa’s poems are inhabited by the spirit of the best haiku in their sparse diction and exacting thought, the poet someone “no longer busking for love” but in love with the plenitudinous offerings of the world and with the way “benevolent negation / strengthens what remains.”
—Andrea Hollander, Author of Blue Mistaken for Sky
Liz Nakazawa’s Pulse and Weave brings us poems emanating from both quotidian reality and from a dreamscape full of “mirages without evaporation.” A born naturalist, Nakazawa folds mallard, ironwood, yarrow, coulee, wetland and moonflower into her lines, creating an “origami dream” of flora and fauna. In one of this book’s celebratory poems (“Sojourn to the Countryside”), we encounter those seeds “wanting to believe in a better world / seeds for short enduring joys, and long encouraged prayers.” Such seeds carry the kind of intent evident throughout Nakazawa’s work.
—Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
Sojourn to the Countryside
I want to tell you about my drive today
hugging the river
how our fears evaporate on sunny days,
that this farmland cradles the oldest barn in Oregon
and there are seeds there wanting to believe in a better world
seeds for short, enduring joys, and long, encouraged prayers.
Hayden’s quartet was on the radio
and he bid the violin to dream
while the sheep were asleep on a green knoll full of lyrical confessions.
Nothing in those farms of belief or certainty
just leaves, veggies, stone and tree, fifty miles from the sea.