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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Grappling to Light: A Book of Poetry by Heather D. Nelson is a brief but impactful collection of poetry about serious subjects such as depression, anxiety, grief, and other emotional and psychological conditions during COVID-19 of 2020 and 2021. It isn't the first pandemic-related volume of poetry that has been written but this stands out for its brave observation of the times and how people dealt with loss and bereavement, as well as finding hope and security in unexpected ways and places. Even though the poetry is sad, poignant, and powerful in some places, there is a thread of positivity and light that runs through it. Although cathartic for the poet, it serves to help others as well. Physical isolation is hard, but mental and emotional isolation can be even harder. These poems express what is sometimes hard to put into words. The passages feel personal but relatable, and the creative positioning of words and phrases is intriguing and refreshing. "Pandemic Spring" is probably my favorite selection in the volume.
This poet has a way of describing feelings and emotions that we feel but can't explain or shake off. And once the pandemic is over, then what? It isn't always easy for someone to re-enter society and be a social butterfly again. So much has happened, and it takes some sorting out. These poems can help identify and purge a variety of thoughts and feelings. Healing comes easier for some, and it comes in different ways. Nelson's poetry is therapeutic for the reader and helps you understand and enjoy the freedom of movement again. The language and imagery are honest and sometimes painful, but the overall experience of reading is worth it. Grappling to Light by Heather D. Nelson is a work of poetry you can return to again for clarity, inspiration, and comfort.