The Widow's House
Brighthorse Books, 2015

The Widow’s House isn’t only for widows or widowers. Its poems are windows onto the drama of grief and loss, like watching a character in a play. (“Reader, grief comes to each of us; here is how it played out in the life of one person. How does it resemble your experience?”) In the book’s last section the grief evens out; those poems can be read simply for themselves though the shadow of loss accompanies them.

Named to Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2016

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The Widow’s House┬áprovides both ruminations about the past and hope for the future. “Left” dares to ask some tough questions about relationships. Could we ever love without the fear of loss? Could we feel loss without love? And by linking these feelings together, the poet invites us to ask some even larger questions about our life in the universe. For example, how does an emotion that often seems eternal function in an entropic universe? Chmielarz does not seek answers as much as she unites herself to readers in the questioning. This alone makes her a poet of note. Finally, as a nerd, I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t conclude this review by mentioning the speculative poem “Living on a Planet with Four or Six or Twelve Moons” exploring a future filled with love and light. This is the most important reminder from the poet, that love and light are still possibilities for all of us, even after loss.
Benjamin Schmitt, author of Dinner Table Refuge
from a longer review on At the Inkwell
The Widow's House
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2016
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