In Shari Andrews’ fifth volume of poetry, many of the poems take inspiration from paintings about women. Andrews grapples throughout with the concept of being female, how women in the past and the present are defined and confined within social constructs. Yet, these poems are anything but polemic; they are by turns soft and hard, gentle and exacting.
A major thread that runs throughout the volume is the way light figures in everything. In one poem, a teen girl gets pregnant and “as the light left my childhood bedroom,” the full implications of that decision sink in. In another poem about maple syrup, the poet recognizes how much effort is required “to harvest one litre of light.” Watching the sun set in the backyard where the shirts are drying on the clothesline, affords another opportunity to watch the light as it “slips out of the sleeves,/into the grass.”
First Thin Light is a study of feminine light that shines despite the dimming efforts of history and tradition.