the fires of naming
Author: Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes
From the bittersweet memories and yearnings of her Jamaican childhood and her convent years, through to the transforming insights of maturity, Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes’ poetic art imbues all she portrays with a wise passion, alternately serene and sorrowful, that blossoms out in moments of breathtaking beauty.
“Holding everything up to the light” is what these poems do: images of memory and moments of desire made crystal clear in language deceptively simple and rhythms that compel one to read on and again.
~ Betsy Struthers, Author of Virgin Territory and Driven
In the fires of naming, Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes transports us with sure-footed elegance to a world where each naming is a form of celebration. Across a landscape that probes questions of family, gender, friendship, sexuality, class and faith, her world unfolds through the structure of the book’s four seasons.
She journeys nimbly selecting stepping stones of memory – a beach, an uncle’s eyes – that form the innocence of childhood, through passion and opinion to the inevitable moment of self-reckoning in “lament”, the legacy of all who richly live.
If as the poet states, she left the cloister “with no words, and a sorrow that had no tongue,” Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes has survived this traumatic parting to endow the literary world years later with unique testimony. She has left this reader in a “twilight slippery after rain”, that rare state of shining ghostliness that surrounds one only in the aftermath of a special read.
~ Rachel Manley, author of Drumblair, memories of a Jamaican Childhood, and Slipstream, a daughter remembers