Walking into Lightning explores the dying of the poet's husband of ALS in 2014, and the first years of widowhood. With profound sensuality and intense imagery, these poems speak of the physicality of love and loss, and the whole territory of grieving: its violence and its ordinariness, the interplay of memory, desire, and sorrow. An extraordinary book for those dealing with loss.
Walking into Lightning is a tender, fierce, raging, stunning book that left me breathless. How generous of Ellen LaFlèche to share this intimate love story with the world! Her metaphors go straight to the heart: seagulls hover “like crosses over the waning tides;” dawn is “a languid unfurl, / a woman releasing her hair pin by pin from her nape;” and an IV bag is “a goblin’s bobbling head.” The tension between the sensual and the sorrowful makes this book stand out from other poetry collections about loss and death. Walking into Lightning is an extraordinary collection that teaches us how to live each moment to the fullest.
—Lesléa Newman, author of I Carry My Mother and Lovely
The title of Ellen LaFlèche’s Walking into Lightning aptly describes the experience of reading her book. Poem after poem, the reader is dazzled by her sensuous imagery and emotional intelligence—by her poignant depiction of what it means to have loved another person “body and soul.” At a time when I seem to be surrounded by widows, LaFlèche gave me illuminating glimpses of a sorrow beyond my present ken and of an intimacy that defies commiseration.