Shelf Awareness Reviews Marybeth Holleman’s TENDER GRAVITY

Although Marybeth Holleman’s five books are all deeply rooted in Alaska’s landscape and wildlife, Tender Gravity is her first expression of that connection through poetry. The title phrase comes from the first entry, “The Beating Heart, Minus Gravity,” in which Holleman (The Heart of the Sound) recalls her childhood when she imagined that flying would be just like swimming: “you stroke/ through air like water.” The bittersweet nature of longing resurfaces throughout, such as when the speaker in “Prodigal,” a poem about birds’ spring arrivals, asks: “Who would I rather be?/ One returning,/ or one staying?”