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Norita Dittberner-Jax—Crossing the Waters

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Norita Dittberner-Jax's new collection, Crossing the Waters, chronicles the daily triumphs and setbacks, fears and recollections, that arose when her husband, Gene, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. Her first response is a shock so deep / the dreaming shut down…

But the poet, adept at exploring the range of emotions from wistfulness and joy to panic and desperation, regains her bearings to capture details of the roller-coaster days and weeks following the diagnosis. Taken out of context, many of the poems could stand alone as reflections of lost love, memories of excursions shared, and praise for a fleeting moment of laughter or glancing sunlight. Yet other details return our attention repeatedly to our heartbreaking role as witnesses of a loved one's decline. 

The measure of Dittberner-Jax's success as a poet lies in the fact that she does full justice to the awfulness of her husband's condition in such a way as to simultaneously underscore how deep and rich their relationship has been--and continues to be. From the chaos and pain of private ruminations bearing titles such as ''What I Will Miss,'' ''Leaving the Garden,'' ''A Psalm of Lament,'' ''The Clinic Waiting Room,'' and ''What the Counselor Said,'' an element of universality emerges. We're all crossing the river. As the opposite bank approaches, things become more immediate, and more precious. In Crossing the River,Norita Dittberner-Jax shows us the way.

Earlier Event: January 15
Bukola Oriola
Later Event: January 25
Eat My Words Open Mic