Lee Woodman beautifully writes of divorce, heartbreak and loss in her read Landscapes. From the beginning poem, “Vermilion Suit” to the closing “Divorce Prayer”, Woodman captures a women’s resilience and determination to go into the future with courage. Written in the light of the pandemic and national unrest, the speaker shows remarkable tenacity and lightheartedness despite her world crumbling around her. Any reader who has experienced heartbreak could gather something from Woodman’s poems, as she depicts the power and importance of moving forward. Inspiring and raw, I thoroughly enjoyed what this collection had to offer.
The poems take you through the speaker’s journey. We meet her lover, his betrayal, experience the speaker’s own emotional roller coaster and finally the divorce itself. I especially found the poem, “It was Different than Fainting” to be particularly chilling and impactful. The narrator tells how different tragic events are then one imagines. She emphasizes the surprise of these accidents, often coming when you least expect it and notes the utter blackness that soon resounds from their impact. Telling the reader that this can happen to anyone, at any flash of a second, “the after of forever”, I was moved with sympathy for her loss and treasured the authenticity of her speech.
Another poem I found to be significantly moving was titled, “No More Sugar”. Describing the first time her former husband let her down, to how his childhood impacted the man he was, it became clear to the reader that the speaker was grappling to accept how her and her husband’s love are no longer compatible. She says, “Rigid bedtime hour, stricter menu regimen. What happened to bourbon after theater, ice cream and TV? Soon we’ll just live on air, scant water.” In losing their playfulness, the speaker’s marriage died, as she reflects on what once was and is no more.
The reader also learns more about the narrator herself. In “Secrets I Tell Myself”, we learn of her tangled, tragic past and the events that formulated her future. In learning of her setbacks, my respect grew even more for the speaker. Overcoming so much, so many tragedies and so many heartbreaks could not have been easy. Despite this, she rose yet from another heartbreak just as she had done with all her previous hardships. Remaining humorous despite the pain, combating the challenges of 2020 and finally experiencing her digital divorce, the grit and spunk of the speaker shone back at me through the pages.
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