Sherry Rind’s poetry books are The Hawk in the Back Yard (Anhinga Award), A Fall Out the Door (King County Arts Award, Confluence Press), and Between States of Matter (The Poetry Box Select, 2020). Chapbooks are The Whooping Crane Dance and A Natural History of Grief. She has received grants and awards from the Seattle and King County Arts Commissions, Pacific Northwest Writers, National Endowment for the Arts, and Artist Trust. Near Seattle, she lives with Airedale terriers, chickens, cockatiels, and a corn snake. She would like to keep a goat. sherryrind.wixsite.com/writer
“In this collection of compelling persona poems, Sherry Rind gives voice to both the natural dignity and intelligence of animals, and to man’s hubris which has shaped our relationships with them. Filled with deep compassion for other lives, these lyrical and often ironic poems show us how often humans “narrowed in their single element” do not comprehend the varied ways of knowing in the non-human world. In this time in which widespread distrust of science has taken hold, her exploration of ancient writers’ outlandish beliefs is a poetic mirror on our own ignorance. “Because you cannot hear/you do not know how the earth talks to itself.” The Storehouse of Wonder and Astonishment is a treasure trove of lyrical insight.” –Alicia Hokanson, author of Perishable World, Mapping the Distance, and Insistent in the Skin
“An exquisitely written, compelling body of poems that anchors the world of animals to our transcendent human longing to know them, save them, be them. Or, at least, be as wildly innocent. “We find the wild lands better than dreams.” Rind has skillfully created something original, a body of lyrical poems that read like rich, lavishly rich, gifts of delicate grace. The overall impression is that of a triumphant acknowledgment of animal life that takes the reader to a place of deep empathy and all-embracing tenderness. “Among us, their eyes stop rolling and they bend their long necks to the grass.” –Mary Lou Sanelli, author of The Immigrant’s Table, Among Friends, and Every Little Thing. www.marylousanelli.com
“…The Store-House of Wonder and Astonishment speaks of age-old histories through the tender wisdom of the Earth’s animals and philosophers. The varying perspectives of each poem and section solidify an underlying truth: while the vessel for each “voice” might be different, the message remains universal. Rind is gentle…. It’s as though Rind sat with each animal and philosopher, considering the depth and genuine evocation in these persona poems. The varying schools of thought, such as Greek myth and fables from the third century CE, presented in this book show Rind’s careful consideration and great respect for these philosophies. The sentiment with which Rind writes adds to the authenticity of her voice with each poem.” -Keana Aguila Labra, Seattle Book Review
“…Folklore and science blend in many of these pieces…[i.e.] ‘The Physic of Toads’, in which toad folklore is presented: ‘If someone offend a toad, she gathers air into her body/and sighs out that poisoned breath/as near the offending person as she can get/and thus has her revenge./If air causes blindness or dizziness, seek the toad.’…Observations of the intersections of these worlds, the mysteries and myths of nature, and the long-ranging history of these encounters are captured… [And] a concluding section of notes bows to the sources of inspiration that fueled these works, offering readers more opportunities to investigate source materials… [Sherry Rind’s] thought-provoking, lyrical commentary are astute, evocative considerations of human roots in the natural world (which, in modern times, are too often forgotten): ‘Nothing then is lost; the vital heat survives in air, wheat,/cloth, mice, the very clay on which we stand or dig for pots./Beings generate in every combination, and everything on earth is life.'” –Diane Donovan’s Recommended Reading, Midwest Review
Excerpt of Poems
Elephants, Their Capacity
The elephant is the largest of them all, and in intelligence approaches the nearest to man.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History, 77 CE
We speak to the lines of sound
among planets, thin as spiders’ silk,
when the new moon reveals itself
after the darkest night.
Silver to silver
we send up the water
and return to the forest.
Thus, we mark the years
of ascending and descending on earth.
When one of us falls,
we inhale her scent to keep it
with all the other stories;
the follower is not less than the leader.
When you take one of us
she will learn your language and obey
because she is no longer herself
but a dog whose world is work.
Because you fear our size
you diminish us.
Because you cannot hear
you do not know how the earth talks to itself.
You will never speak our language
which is of the earth
the deepest tides of underground streams
the molten shiftings you cannot hear.
Oviedo Encounters the Sloth in Brazil
The first invention of Musicke might seeme by the hearing of this beast, to have the first principles of that Science,
rather then by any other thing in the World. Gonzalo De Oviedo
Its four limbs cannot carry it on earth
but drag the body with birdlike claws,
belly weaving a trail in the dust.
Too slow for sport, with a mouth too small to bite,
it does not defend itself from capture
or bring any profit yet known to man.
It cannot be hurried, can never be hurried
by threats or sticks even when it sees a tree
where its one desire is to climb
with long arms and claws that reach slowly
as if through honey to the highest branch
where it is lost in quietude
among leaves and birds. No one has seen it eat
anything but air, as it turns its face to the wind,
a round child’s face with a dark stroke across each eye
painted carelessly, an animal half-formed, a friend of darkness,
quiet by day but singing at night
six notes up the scale and down
as a man may sing do, re, me, fa, so, la
this creature calls ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah in perfect pitch
composing the music of this New World
and all the marvels in it.