Joan Howard's collection is pure music: love songs, laments, hymns. She has an incredible ear for sound, including rhyme and meter. This, coupled with an eye and heart for discovering the sublime in nature, gives her poems a classical feel-a formality that ups the poignancy while keeping sentimentality at bay. These are short poems, packed with grief and wonder. Howard has written a profound tribute to her beloved. It is their story and her story: the hard and beautiful necessity of moving on while never forgetting.
Karen Paul Holmes, author of Untying the Knot
Joan Howard's poems, crafted like finely cut jewels, reflect a joyful and sustaining force in the natural world, even as the poet confronts a major loss. Whether she is kayaking on the lake ("I glided into diamonds") or noting a solitary clematis blooming on her late husband's birthday, she presents a remarkable tapestry of all our lives, in which, as William Blake wrote, "Joy and woe are woven fine."
Janice Townley Moore, author of Teaching the Robins
How refreshing to find a new collection of poems filled with sincerity that takes you through a deeply moving love story. With exquisite imagery, Joan Howard reveals the beauty of nature around her before piercing the heart with human truths that make you feel you are walking beside her and sharing her pain. In her poem "Beautiful," "Great white clouds rise in skies so deeply blue, a robin's egg is pale; and mountains' depths revealed because of flowering trees; your breath is in the dogwood blossoms, warm and new." Joan shares some grief after her husband's death in "Joe-pye-weed." "I'm angry at the wealth of flowers that you're not here to see, last autumn I all blossoms held when you were here with me." During suffering Joan never ceases to look at the beauty of life.
Glenda Barrett, Visual artist, author of When the Sap Rises, and The Beauty of Silence.
Joan Howard's poetry embraces the reader. Her use of cadence, form and rhyme teeters on beauty and never falls off.
Marcia Hawley Barnes, Author of Tobias, Georgia Writers' Association Children's Author of the Year, 2017
Joan Howard opens her heart to delve deep into the feelings of grief and hope one faces when a beloved lover, friend and husband passes away. Each poem is a gift to Jack, her late husband of many years, and we are fortunate to be able to open them and be touched by her love and admiration for his courage to struggle to overcome one illness only to be struck down by another. She tracks his illness in her journals with poetry.
Glenda Council Beall, author of Now Might As Well Be Then, Profiles and Pedigrees, the Descendants of Thomas Charles Council
Poetry written in beauty leaves the reader with nourishing aftereffects. Happily, in Jack, Love and the Daily Grail Joan M. Howard's sonnets, such as "Time Travel," "The Secret," "Walking the Dam," "Kingdom of the Father" and "Grace," shimmer with superb craft, evidence of a clear and powerful intelligence.. Like those of Gerard Manley Hopkins, her use of word links: gliding meet, lake wed, these now years and life hearts on, create new meanings and new illuminations.
In her shorter poems, Howard skillfully and with eye-catching word play, offers compact facets pulling to compact closings, reminiscent of Emily Dickinson: "A Ride in the Boat," "Golden Morning" and "Anticipation," and opening into humor in "Squirrel." Alive with an undeniable intensity equal to the best known love poems, her poems to her husband are truly beauty for all time.
Maren O. Mitchell