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The poems of Dear October chronicle the evolution of the natural world and a daughter caring for her mother during the last year of her life. Months of the final year act as the scaffolding for the collection, as they reflect on the twelve moons. The spirit of home, family, and mother-daughter relationship intertwine with the diversity of culture and ecology in northern New Mexico. Dear October is a gathering of poems on the intimacy of caring for a dying parent at home, while being acutely aware of the progression of time and the natural world. The poems were often the way the author prepared for loss—written through events, memory, landscape, myth, and dreams. The writing regards a childhood in Oklahoma but mostly celebrates the diverse landscape and cultures of New Mexico.
“In caring for her mother before death, Mary Morris has moved a familiar subject forward with new beauty, truth, and humor. Morris is a storyteller, first and foremost, incredibly gifted in putting the heart to the word. Every incident on each page is an inimitable moment that makes the breath of dying different from any other’s on earth. The poet writes, ‘I try to get out of the way so the soul may draw near, but I keep tripping . . . get lost in my mother skirts.’ These poems are part folklore, part history, part mysticism. You’ll seldom see a relationship, at its emotional core, written so individually and so achingly. Never maudlin nor sentimental, Morris has raised the bar for possibilities between people. I love a book that turns gravity into light, and I’m so glad we were invited in. Dear October should be a choice for ‘Best of the Year.’”
—Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate