Memory's Abacus: Poems by Anna Lewis PRE-ORDER
In this remarkable first collection, Anna Lewis wends her way through the ordinary spaces and cadences of everyday life, exploring how the past remains present through pattern and memory. Rhyme, repetition, and traditional verse forms—most notably, a strikingly original crown of triolets—probe what’s old and new in our modern-day experiences of family, motherhood, loss, and faith. These poems echo with blooms and tombs, windows and war, numbers and names, mythological figures and passing strangers. They collect and count, save and sift, inviting us to take pause, see, and savor what’s visible—and what’s invisible—on our shared and personal journeys through time and space.
Here’s what matters about a book of poems: Does the poet know what to do with language? (Is it vigorous and surprising yet inevitable? Does it make music—or is it merely prose? Does it lead us into meaning?) If the answer is yes, it’s a book of poems worth celebrating—and the answer is yes for this first book of poems from Anna Lewis. May there be many more.
--Jane Greer, author of Love Like a Conflagration and The World as We Know It Is Falling Away
What else is there, Anna Lewis asks in her eponymous poem, “but this / one life, that’s more, / almost, than we can bear?” With hushed precision and flawless delicacy, the poems in Memory’s Abacus chart how close to unbearable life can be even as they celebrate its beauties. A line of laundry, spring petals, a child’s acquisition of language: all are occasions for ardent attention. What might seem everyday details build, in the architecture of this collection, into a construct as durably radiant as a book of hours or a liturgical calendar.
Without a trace of sentimentality or sententiousness, Lewis offers us a guide to a life lived with gratitude and awe, with an attentiveness that misses nothing—not a season, not a death in the family, not the yard of the day care. Such a celebratory gathering of poems is itself an occasion for gratitude.
--Rachel Hadas, author of Ghost Guest and Pandemic Almanac
Publication Date: April 29, 2024