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understand an irony of death: that with death, oftentimes someone who was closest to us becomes even more alive to us. Perhaps it is through longing for an absent loved one’s presence that we succeed in willing the person to live on. In this sense, the loved one is never absent from our lives but is ever with us, each moment of our remaining lives. Indeed, Honeycutt wills her deceased brother Ralph to live on. She speaks of how she drops his “name into conversations” and that he represents “a face card turned up on the table.” We ascertain through Honeycutt’s example that it is the evoking of a loved one into day-to-day interactions that alleviates our suffering, making the loss of a loved one easier to bear. The volume Beneath the Bamboo Sky is not an easy one to read. We cannot remain spectators for long. We wade in the creek water with the poet and her brothers. We stand with her as she stands beside each of them as they await death. And as we await her brothers’ deaths with her, we glean that we, too, are mortal and must seek life in the presence of death. Within her volume, Honeycutt has done just that: found life in the presence of death by letting her brothers live through her words. n

OF LEAVING AND WHAT REMAINS BEHIND a review by Hannah Crane Sykes Patricia Hooper. Separate Flights. Tampa, FL; University of Tampa Press, 2016.

HANNAH CRANE SYKES is a native of Western North Carolina but currently lives in the Piedmont region. She earned her BA from Western Carolina University and her MA from UNC Greensboro. She currently teaches courses in composition, American and British literature, and creative writing at Rockingham Community College. PATRICIA HOOPER, who currently lives in Gastonia, NC, was born in Saginaw, MI. She received a BA and MA from the University of Michigan. She is the author of four poetry collections, including Other Lives (Elizabeth Street Press, 1984), which received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is also the author of several children’s books.

Patricia Hooper’s fourth poetry collection, aptly titled Separate Flights, is a meditation on movement and space, leaving and what lingers. Separate Flights won not only the Anita Clare Scharf Award in 2015 but was also recently awarded the 2017 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. In this collection, Hooper explores action and reaction as well as comings and goings through poems grounded in the tangible, yet sensing the intangible. Many of the poems in Separate Flights deal with the illness and passing of the speaker’s mother. The poem “Flare” describes the surrender of a stroke victim in the middle of an episode. The physical terror is portrayed in lines like “In the center of / my left eye, summer disappeared, the leaves, / the wall of windows,” while the metaphysical is also recognized: “Some god, I thought, / has gripped me, wants me back, but first / it showed me what I was.” Being able to imagine the thoughts one might have during such an event reveals Hooper’s creative conscience, but then as the reader encounters other poems dealing with the loss of Mother, who may have been the stroke victim, the reader truly appreciates the poetic sensibilities of the collection. Two other poems that speak to the loss of a mother are “The Afterlife” and “Letter to My Mother,” which ruminate on what is missing in the

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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