Laurie Sheck: 13 Poems from “The Willow Grove”

Laurie Sheck: 13 Poems from "The Willow Grove" Human Voices Wake Us

An episode from 1/31/21: The American writer Laurie Sheck (born 1953) was the first poet that I read extensively from on Human Voices Wake Us. I’m unsure why her work is overlooked, but I’ve always been proud that I recorded a handful of poems from her 1996 book, The Willow Grove.

The Willow Grove remains one of the best single collections of poetry I’ve ever come across, especially those poems where Sheck remembers her childhood, learning to read, first going to museums, and so much else. And for someone like me, for whom the mystique and power of driving and listening to the radio (or podcasts, now) is so intense, a poem like “Headlights” sums up years of my life.

The entire book feels like one long poem, and even the thirteen poems here, when heard together, have the wholeness of a continuous story: 

  • The Stockroom 
  • Living Color 
  • from the Book of Persephone, pt. 4 
  • Learning to Read 
  • Mummy 
  • Morning Walk 
  • Sycamore 
  • The Leper Colony 
  • View of the Asylum Garden 
  • Headlights 
  • Streets 
  • Cypresses 
  • Sea

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