Title: Grappling to Light
Author: Heather D. Nelson
Grappling to Light by Heather D. Nelson is a collection of poems written during the COVID-19 pandemic. Themes of loss, depression, isolation, and death are explored in the poetry. Holding such heavy themes together, however, is hope and the need for loved ones during a time of mourning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly turned the world upside down as we know it. People have dealt with the changes it’s brought in various ways. Using creativity as an outlet during challenging times has been demonstrated time and time again throughout history. Nelson’s poetry reflects upon the heaviness brought by this pandemic, and because the pandemic still rages on, her writing is very relevant. Many people will relate to her words, as they will resonate on some level. Even years into the future, when COVID-19 is hopefully an old memory, Nelson’s words will ring true to touching the core of the human condition: suffering, loss, pain, and heartache, yet also hope, light, love, and joy. Therefore, her poetry is both timeless and vital for our current time.
Heather D. Nelson employs probing, evocative language that transcends surface understanding, challenging the reader to dive deeper. Between the lines of every poem is a whole story. Her poetry stirs the reader’s emotions, rendering, at times, pain that goes beyond words. To be able to provoke tears, to carve out the hollowness of knowing one will never see a loved one on this side of the grave again, to grasp at memories with the aching hope that eludes, to stand on the edge of the abyss, torn between falling and stepping back: these are the terrible beauties in Nelson’s poetry.
Nelson’s command of language is strong, compelling, profound. She possesses a true talent to create written artwork, which further paints vivid images in the reader’s mind. Rife with metaphor, the author’s poems tug on heartstrings, playing a melody of life and death, love and loss. When prose words fail, poetry has the gift to move beyond what we see and feel on the outside, and Nelson owns this ability in spades.
At only six thousand words, this poetry collection is a short experience—perhaps too short—yet because of the deep nature of the poems, it can prove a longer read if the reader takes the time to ponder the meaning behind each poem. It’s not an easy read, although it could be argued that a collection of poems like these shouldn’t be. The reader would do well to invest as much time in carefully reading these thought-provoking, emotion-stirring poems as Nelson did writing them.
Grappling to Light is a relevant and timeless collection of poetry that deals with contrasting themes of the human condition. Heather D. Nelson’s poems, written during the COVID-19 pandemic, will long remain with the reader, echoing the harrowing loss and the long days, yet providing a blanket of hope. This poetry book does not shy away from confronting what is scary and sad, and Nelson’s words inspire that same courage in the reader.
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