by Simona Carini
ISBN: 9798985524246 — $16.00
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Simona Carini was born in Perugia, Italy. She writes poetry and nonfiction and has been published in various venues, in print and online. She lives in Northern California with her husband, loves to spend time outdoors, and works as an academic researcher. Her website is https://simonacarini.com
ABOUT THE BOOK: Simona Carini’s experience of growing up near Assisi, in the shadow of St. Francis’s spiritual heritage, illuminates the poems in this collection. Moving to Northern California, she discovers the ocean, coastal fog, the redwoods. Illness imbues love and time with an intense flavor and causes memories to stand in starker relief against a backdrop of darkness alternating with vivid light. A tiny blue fish that looks cut from the night sky becomes a talisman. The poems are rooted in quiet observations of life events past and present. There is a lot of blue in them, not all dark. There are stars, not all in the sky. And there is water: ocean, bay, lake, lagoon, glacier, and geyser. This book reflects a life lived fully immersed in spaces born or made sacred.
In Survival Time Simona Carini’s poems function as their own microcosms––small wild sanctuaries––where the speaker is free to explore the depths of natural and unnatural dangers. Cancers become scalpels that slice sunlight, but the speaker persists, “Kelp-flavored air / in my lungs, I bloom here too.” Though it’s not the questioning or the answering that alone make this collection unique, but rather the dance of the polemic itself, “What does the doctor say? Brown pelicans / are the coolest birds.”
––Kimberly Burwick, author of Out Beyond the Land, Carnegie Mellon University Press
Prismatic descriptions of nature shimmer in Simona Carini’s starlit collection of poetry, Survival Time, where “pale green / rosettes of fleshy leaves” become infused with wonder. In poems where caves, tunnels, and transitional spaces like waiting rooms become washed in light and transformation, the speakers of Carini’s gorgeous poems meditate on the boundary between health and illness, life and death: “One day I’ll let you go, will have no choice, / won’t see you leave, won’t know you’ve left.” Subtle wordplay animates each image in poems of Survival Time that journey through landscapes of nature and memory, bringing the reader to the edge of what is and what might be: “Fog condensed into stars stuck / to my jacket, clung to my swinging body.” What does it mean to find oneself “standing at the continent’s edge” where you “drink / the blue above and below?” Coastal California, the depths of the sea where the salty blues give life to the fish that swims with stars on its body, and the verdant scent of Sitka spruce infuse Carini’s poems with a life force all the more powerful in facing loss both environmental and personal. Survival Time thrums with an ecopoetical pulse, inviting us to reckon with what it means to take in stillness, to deeply notice and encounter the elegiac landscapes of our ever-changing world.
––Tyler Mills, author of City Scattered, Tupelo Press
The poems in Simona Carini’s Survival Time are lyrical reverberations of the spiritual relationship between humans and nature. Her poems investigate the complexity of anticipatory grief coupled with fierce hope and unmitigated love. Carini embraces the sensuous immediacy of burning onions, “scarlet bracts,” “slit-skin raw landscape” and star-studded damselfish. With profound insight, Carini meditates on the nature of hope––underwater creatures who know the stars, a paper boat sent to sea, or the breath which leaves no trace.
––Nancy K. Pearson, author of The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone, Fordham University Press