Debra Grant (2019)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (02/2020)
During the ten years I lived in South Florida, I went through many hurricanes. Some just brushed off but others seemed to aim at us. It is no surprise I gravitated to “Storm” by Deb Grant! I was moved, and happy to finally find words to feelings, and experiences I lived through once too many, whether by finding myself in middle of the storm or helping loved ones through the aftermath of a storm.
“Storm” is a collection of poems that reflects the human experience organized in a book format. The poems are grouped in sections mirroring the different phases storm-affected communities go through: ‘Provision, Demolition, Resilience, and Exhortation.’ This formatting makes the author’s message flow easily even when jumping from one section to the other. Some poems rhyme, others don’t. Most are long, which makes it hard for me to sample here in their full length. However, I will sample an excerpt below just to give an idea of the author’s bold, direct, and sensorial voice which makes the reader experience the storm, feel the aftermath, and listen to the call for help.
Deb Grant does a great job creating a journey through the ‘storm’ for readers to experience. The anticipation, the fear, the devastation and the strength to rebuild is felt throughout thanks to her choice of words, but also on how she decides to put them together on each piece of poetry. I am a fan of short poetry; however Grant’s longer style works great to depict the odyssey, and dread of going through devastating storms and has made me a fan too. Some of my favorites are ‘A Bird In Hand,’ ‘Impassable,’ ‘Port In A Storm,’ and ‘This Maria.’ Below is a sample excerpt:
When the rain stops
the taking in begins
the body’s windows,
taking in the breath
after holding it for days.
Our senses label and file
A hood of someone’s car
leans against the toppled tree in the backyard.
Grind of generators and chainsaws.
Grills frying meat rescued
from powerless freezers
Humid air that feels like a mugger’s
sweat gloved hand
keeping the mouth shut for fear of not
knowing how to cry for help.
A pulled pork sandwich
and foam-container dish of beans,
a bag of sour cream and onion chips delivered
by human hands
through a food truck window.
the fresh truth
of our humanity
All senses working.
We are alive.’
“Storm” by Deb Grant took me back to the memory of many hurricanes, some scarier than others, my last one being Wilma. ‘Taking in,’ took me there. “Storm” by Deb Grant is a must-read for everyone, because you never know when disaster will strike.