When is a Burning Tree
Winner of Glass Lyre Press's Lyrebird Award.
In Christina Seymour’s splendid, delicate collection she uses images from paintings and natural landscapes to describe her own vivid interior life. The speaker of these poems tells us: “Any living thing is as good as a Renoir”; she knows “There’s only so much preparing / for the flood of acorns, their soft meat / crumbled in piles on the sidewalk”; she opens “a small attic window for truth.” Seymour’s poems are quiet, precise, and powerful.
—Faith Shearin, author of The Owl Question and Darwin’s Daughter
In the light of the mind our one-and-only world is beautifully imperfect, “familiar and foreign at once.” Christina's poems make it so. Just so.
—Carol Frost, author of Entwined: Three Lyric Sequences
Christina Seymour’s generous, insightful When is a Burning Tree shines its brilliance on the unexpected lyrical connections between the human world and the natural one so that under its influence we recognize even “the earthworm, with its two sexes and five impossible hearts” or “the tiniest snail gripping rock-face” as fellow travelers exactly as humble as ourselves.
—Lisa Lewis, author of The Body Double and Burned House with Swimming Pool
From the Publisher
“When is a Burning Tree comprises extraordinary lyric poems in a unique voice as its author explores the complexities of being a woman in the world. Reticent but brimming with emotion through wonderful imagery, syntax, and sound; she takes the ordinariness of the day and breaks it open with leaping ideas. Surprises and turns in every line – you cannot rush this collection – each poem needs to be savored.”
Flowers Around Your Soft Throat
Winner of Structo Magazine's poetry chapbook contest.
From the Publisher
This collection explores death, love, and hope, pacing through death’s shadowy valley and beginning an ascent of the opposite rim. Seymour writes of the frailty of the heart; she pities “the earthworm, with its two sexes and five impossible hearts.” But these poems aren’t simply a confessional or autobiographical arc. There are ekphrastic pieces on Song Dynasty silks, Mark Rothko, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and an imitation of Psalm 45. Seymour’s style is textured and detailed with a subtle musicality as evidenced in ‘Sacred':
The crinkled gingko leaf shifts like a cricket for a moment before succumbing to stillness. Each imagined boat on the harbor of a well-lit memory is still, just as I sit quietly long enough to maybe feel finished, like him. One pinprick is a seashell, becoming water from a point, and still the shadows grow across some distant prairie, absent each of us.
— Matthew Landrum, Structo Poetry Editor
The ten poems in Christina Seymour’s debut chapbook, Flowers Around Your Soft Throat, raise everyday suburban life to the level of the sublime [. . .]
The sonic unity in Seymour’s free verse comes from within-line rhyming and alliteration. Hard sounds are balanced out by sibilance in a snippet like “cicadas send clicks,” while the four-fold assonance in “a parade of brave raindrops on the pane” augments the internal rhyme to produce an enchanting rhythm in “Hope Naturally Follows Morning.”
Here Seymour gilds autobiographical fragments with universal significance. She leads a breathtaking emotional tour [. . .] Family and romantic relationships provide succor yet are always a potential locus of sadness. Nature and art, the poet proposes, are methods of transmuting this inevitable grief: “We ask any surprise rain shower to teach us how to weep” as we recognize “the tiptoed silk of a relative dying.” Readers will be eager to encounter Seymour’s fresh images and ekphrasis in a full-length collection.
— Rebecca Foster, Small Press Book Review; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Full review here.