“The world breaks everyone,” said Ernest Hemingway. The poems in Sandy Coomer’s collection, The Broken Places, concur and serve as witness to the severity of our world and the challenge to maintain balance and positivity. However, these poems also serve as a call to courage. In acknowledging that hard questions seldom have easy answers, the poet comes to an intimate reckoning with the rest of Hemingway’s words, “and afterward, some are stronger at the broken places.”
Exploring brokenness in the public world, in relationships with others, in the physical body, and in the sacredness of our identity and heart, these poems weave a path of observation and reflection through loss and grief, frustration and anguish, to reach a place where shadows can’t control and dictate. In today’s world of political and personal strife and challenge, The Broken Places maintains there is much that can be gained from life’s hardships: a bolder inner strength, a vivid perception of good, and the fortitude to speak one’s truth.
Uncovering hope and healing in the mundane as well as the profound moments of life, the poems address the realities of being human, carrying the truth of struggle and pain in the same hands that carry acceptance and forgiveness. Despite the turbulence of our world, the overarching message of this book is one of perseverance and faith, and the belief that the human spirit can rise beyond the broken places to the claim the beautiful spaces that exist for us all.