General Release from the Beginning of the World
Free Verse Editions
Cover Art Old on Panel by Gershom
Cover Design by David Blakesley & Chloé Brun
Stitched equally with wit, tenderness, and the grace of longing, the poems of General Release from the Beginning of the World reinvigorate the metaphysical tradition for our still-new century. Donna Spruijt-Metz riffs on the very Psalms that she also interrogates, seeking answers from a genderless, nameless deity here referred to only as YOU – answers to the question of hauntedness (“the endless repetition/of the first loss”), of what it means to be haunted by a father’s death, by a mother’s lies about that death. “[R]eel me through, catch me/on the other side/with YOUR hidden hands,” says Spruijt-Metz, addressing a deity as elusive as her father himself. These brave poems prove their own way forward to the difficult doubleness of truth: it can set you free but, first, it’ll break your heart. These impressive poems will, too.
Harbor Review Press
In what ways do the things left behind after suicide, take on the shadowy form of the one we’ve lost? In Dear Ghost, Donna Spruijt-Metz explores grief as channeled through objects–a roll of parchment paper that “doesn’t ever seem / to run out,” an antique Sake cup, an “eviscerated dog plushie.” In exquisitely crafted language and unexpected images, Spruijt-Metz draws us into the invisible world of grief as it exists in interaction with objects remaining in the living world. Where do ghosts find us and how do we embrace them as “roof of water,” “bent angel,” “creaky vision?” Dear Ghost is a testimony of grief unlike any other that I’ve read. It asks us to remain with tenderness but also with the absurdity and irony of what remains as our most cherished ones slip away, then linger to remind us of our own hearts beating in tune in time with our memories, our mourning, our “most tender protest.”
—Joan Kwon Glass, author of Night Swim
Donna Spruijt-Metz’s divine (I include both attributes for the word) micro-chapbook translates the gut-wrenching activity of returning oneself to the ordinary world after a death. Like her “most tender protest” the poet’s materializing memory builds a “cathedral /between worlds” to survive this one. These unique elegies possess reincarnating powers; attention’s small effigies come alive in cotton rounds, porcelain bowl, in a disemboweled dog toy…They supersede emotional logic to reflect the lost one’s “vanishing point” space where the poet is willing to lose herself. Dear Ghost’s ten poems uplight Metz’s philosophically elegant “islands of clear speech” from grief’s undertow in darker waters. A powerful taste of what this exciting author has to offer.
—Elena Karina Byrne, author of If This Makes You Nervous
Once, Flower made a list of last lines of Emily Dickinson poems. She thought they would make beguiling titles—that we could both work on Emily poems—exchange them with each other. Sometimes a last line inspired its poem. Sometimes a poem that was already partially written was attracted to a particular line as a title. We passed the poems back and forth so often that it was often unclear to either of us who wrote what. Returning to the Emily poems after a brief interlude, we were bewildered by how unfamiliar the pieces had become; a line I believed was mine curled like an unfurled fern leaf unto itself, a muddled melding of my and Donna’s voices (muddled, as in a mud from which eerie stems stake forth, thorned, petaled or gilled and capped) until who could be sure where one hand began and the other took over? What a delight. What a delight to lose ourselves thisway, having been led afield by the genius of Emily.
Finishing Line Press
Slippery Surfaces deftly brings narrative situation and lyric song into coalescence. Spruijt-Metz’s ultimate subject is memory itself, which she movingly describes in its various guises—as lens, as veil, as mirror.
– Rick Barot
"Daughter and Mother, Amsterdam, Tram 4" alone is worth the cover price of Donna Spruijt-Metz's new collection. This series of conversation poems between a mother and daughter deftly and quietly devastates.
– Maggie Smith