Sotto Voce

November 28, 2020
Sotto Voce

Poems that give full attention to a world in shambles, a worldin which "mercy is failing." Maureen Hynes, in her fifth book ofpoetry, speaks tenderly yet vehemently about the threatened worldsthat concern her. From Toronto, where she lives and walks thecity's afflicted watershed, she turns her attention to the near andfar, shifting it from the First Nations' stolen lands to Syria andthe refugee crisis in the Mediterranean; from the deaths of familyand friends to the newborns into whose care our endangered planetwill pass; and from love's transient regrets to the sustaining lovetwo women share. Hynes' is a gaze that grieves quietly, delightshumbly, and, in the search for solace, never rests. Each poem inSotto Voce is a recitative of healing. Hear the music in every wordand, despite the damaged environments Hynes gives voice to, berestored. This is a book that bears witness to the "dynamite stickof injustice," one that balances fear and hope, misfortune andrenewal, calamity and natural beauty. Sotto Voce carries thecomplexity and seriousness of its themes lightly—it's important toknow when to speak loudly, and when to whisper. "...Sotto Voce isthe sound of one of Canada's most accomplished poets writing at theheight of her powers." —Jim Johnstone "Whether speaking aboutnature, or politics, or love, Maureen Hynes does so with candor andcompassion. These poems are generous and assured, and the worldthey circumscribe is the urgent, beautiful, dangerous place wherewe all live. Read Sotto Voce. Maureen Hynes is a poet at the top ofher game." —Helen Humphreys