Doug Stanfield’s poetry is an unfurling of wings and a fanning out in every heartfelt direction, reaching all of life’s heights and depths. There is humility and there is enormous bravery. Within the pages of Lifting Stones there is no finite limit to Stanfield’s poetic skill, nor to his quality.
He owns the journey that is Lifting Stones. He owns it with “bare courage and risk”—his words—and to read this book is to step from one stone to the next in the sometimes calm, oftentimes tumultuous river that he has forged between its covers.
Upon one stone I behold the relatively fresh wound of “Love in the Time of Corona.” Atop another stone I discover the fierce elation of “Borrowed Dust.” I skip to yet another smooth muse of stone and I find “As It Was.” I pause at times, to wipe away the tears, but always I progress to the next verse with intrigue and joy.
It’s difficult to do justice to the raw tenderness of Lifting Stones without falling into cliché. Suffice to say it is a singular collection of clarity, warmth, grief, humor, agony, mortality, recollection, despair, and rebirth. It is an expedition, not a journey’s end. It is a unique work of life via poetry, a kaleidoscopic gallery of this poet’s genuine experience laid bare.
Stanfield writes with a dignity. He writes with a frank self-respect that is, to borrow his exquisite words, “eternally becoming.”
Lifting Stones by Doug Stanfield. Rootstock Publishing, June 2021.
Reviewer bio: Mandi Greenwood is the author of Six Steps Down, Caught Inside, and The Silver Renoir.
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