Shining purple blossoms

It is rare that the title of a book so aptly captures the essence of its inner pages. Snow on a Crocus: Formalities of a Neonaticide, which won the Walter Pavlich Memorial Poetry Award from local Swan Scythe Press for 2010, gently lifts the reader into a dark journey. This trip into loss is told with such lyric and insight that one is seeing a flurry of snowflakes, dusting blossoms, before a more true spring, rather than a dreary unending winter. In glimpsing into the heart of one of the darkest human moments, Joan Swift turns it inside out by making the journey in first person with the mother. Equal parts Othello and Bash-o, Swift’s narrative series of poems bows to no one, and tells a story wrapped in language so delicate it demands our attention, like the brightness of a purple crocus peeking through snow.