Praise for Shirley Sullivan

Shirley Sullivan’s Find Praise for January works its way toward a remarkable proclamation and

a final freedom. “I have lived a whole life,” Sullivan writes, “out of obscurity and distance /

defined by division and separation.” The pain and suffering of that life—a journey through

divorce, breast cancer, and the trials of aging—is rendered in poems that are at once bracing and

empathic. Viewing a shattered tree, Sullivan feels into both its brokenness and strength: “Now I

am a truncated / silhouette leaning / into the sunrise. Still / I stand tall and wear / my broken

wing / with pride.” And from the wound of separation, from the depths of winter, a new resolve

emerges to embrace the fragility of life and to accept what is: “Today I will go out, undefended. /

There will be no more wanting.” These poems bear the marks of a hard-won wisdom and grace.

John Brehm, author of Help Is on the Way

In Shirley Sullivan's collection of poems, Find Praise for January, she exposes us to the raw and

tender core of this wintry month with breathtaking honesty and piercing imagery. The poignancy

of lines like "the river of you slips into backwater" will break your heart, only to mend it again

with humor and determination: "Needs a new transmission, he said, wielder/ of microsurgical

wonders, casually putting my ear/ in the shop like the old Chevy it was." This book is bound to

help you find praise for January, the capacity of the human spirit, and for this fine poet.

Martha Kalin, author of Afterlife and Mango and How to Hold a Flying River

Shirley Sullivan’s poetry sings strong and clear, the hallmark of a voice shaped by the wisdom of

years. In Find Praise for January, we encounter a poet who both lives and grieves fully, who

embraces her tender, heartbreaking life with reflective depth: “Who knows what you have failed

to grasp,” Sullivan muses, pondering a recent cancer diagnosis. “Is it the cat curled at your

shoulder in bed / . . . .or roses drying to cream dipped in crimson?” Here is a skilled poet who

walks gracefully ahead of us on our shared human journey: to find praise for January.

Joy Roulier Sawyer, author of Tongues of Men and Angels and Lifeguards