“Mary Buchinger possesses native fluency in the language of velocities. In NAVIGATING THE REACH, the speaker touches her way, poem after spare poem, along a swift corridor of exits and disappearances.
In this, her fourth full-length collection, Buchinger’s nimble poems examine the transition of the staid to the seldom, and finally, the never. Her poems fly at an altitude of lonely compassion, from which she captures the gleaming urgencies far below, just as their gleam ceases.
She observes the handing back and forth of treasured things between father and daughter, as the exchange process itself dwindles them, however tenderly. Ultimately, we stand alongside the speaker in a vast, clean emptiness, which is in fact brimming with the marvel of impermanence.”
author of If Mercy (The Word Works)
“How does one learn / to navigate the reach / its treacherous rocks?” asks Mary Buchinger in the title poem of her new collection. The “reach” she refers to is not just a stretch of ocean between islands off coastal Maine. This book is about the churning cross-currents of grief. Buchinger’s poems recount difficult months before and after her father’s death, and take us deep into the inescapable labors of sorrow, memory, and
longing. Immersion in the “reach,” however, also reaffirms and deepens the poet's connection to life, its beauty and energy, as well as its mortal shoals. With evocative, often stunning imagery and rhythms, these poems follow the poet as she makes her way toward, as she says in the book's final poem, “the place where the sun touches down.”
author of Said Not Said (Graywolf Press)