Free Verse Editions. Series Editor: Jon Thompson.
In GENERAL RELEASE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD, Donna Spruijt-Metz attempts to reconcile the death of the father, the lies of the mother, a hidden half-sister, and the love for a daughter-with the impossible desire to banish the past from the present. She examines shifting relationships with the holy, referred to in the book only as 'YOU.' She asks: "Do YOU hear/a whisper/in YOUR//constant night/-and then listen?" She breaks her own heart to touch yours.
What People Are Saying
"Stitched equally with wit, tenderness, and the grace of longing, the poems of GENERAL RELEASE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD reinvigorate the metaphysical tradition for our still-new century. Donna Spruijt-Metz riffs on the very Psalms that she also interrogates, seeking answers from a genderless, nameless deity here referred to only as YOU-answers to the question of hauntedness ("the endless repetition/of the first loss"), of what it means to be haunted by a father's death, by a mother's lies about that death. "[R]eel me through, catch me/on the other side/with YOUR hidden hands," says Spruijt-Metz, addressing a deity as elusive as her father himself. These brave poems prove their own way forward to the difficult doubleness of truth: it can set you free, but, first, it'll break your heart. These impressive poems will, too." -Carl Phillips
The poems in this collection show it is possible for a poet to be in direct conversation with God, herself, and us, the readers, as if we were all sitting down at the same table, passing the salt. Intimate and holy, stripped down to their most essential moving parts, they bring us into their world of kinetic curiosity and restless grief. "The real work," these poems proclaim, "is taming the whirring/ distance between us-/ Come close." -Danusha Laméris
The gift of attention, the gift of self-knowledge, the gift of never looking away and always taking the reader to the source of deepest wounds and hard-fought healing. These are but a few of the gifts poet Donna Spruijt-Metz offers us in her wonderful book of poems, GENERAL RELEASE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD. With formal rigor and a real sense of pleasure in the act of experiment and making, Spruijt-Metz works into questions both existential and pragmatic, somehow bringing us to the space where the human-animal and the divine don't so much reckon with one and other as reveal themselves as each other's yearning and, often, uneasy mirror. "YOUR rough drafts/ waiting for release-longing/ for each other-and maybe a place/ at YOUR side /[which is everywhere]." Everywhere I look in this book of poems, I find myself in the midst of a glorious memory and a glorious becoming. -Gabriella Calvacoressi
About the Author
Donna Spruijt-Metz is a poet, a psychology and public health professor at the University of California, and a recent MacDowell Fellow in poetry (September-October 2021). She attended rabbinical school for a year and a half but decided she needed to write poetry about the holy, and there are only twenty-four hours in the day. Her first career was as a classical flutist. She lived in the Netherlands for twenty-two years and translates Dutch poetry into English. Her poetry and translations appear in Copper Nickel, Tahoma Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, RHINO, The Cortland Review, Poetry Northwest, The Inflectionist Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbooks are 'Slippery Surfaces' (Finishing Line Press) and 'And Haunt the World' (a collaboration with Flower Conroy, Ghost City Press). She is on the web at https: //www.donnasmetz.com/.