People write for many reasons: therapy, artmaking, community. Thelma Giomi’s poems originate, in some ways, from all of these impulses. Being diagnosed with lupus, a painful autoimmune disease, meant that, for much of her life, Giomi needed to find a way to face each day with hope. Poetry, her family, and her love of the New Mexico landscape have helped her along the way.
Giomi, who holds a PhD in clinical and developmental psychology, is the author of three novels and three volumes of poetry. Like so many authors, Giomi finds inspiration in nature—its cycles, its perseverance, its uncanny way of illuminating the human spirit through metaphor. The wind serves as a controlling metaphor in this collection, moving through the human landscape, bringing change. The stars also serve as a powerful metaphor for the interconnectedness of human beings with both the environment and each other.
In “Si La Va Va” the poet writes “They’ve lived the words that are in my bones, / Like the coded pattern of my illness.” Everywhere, Giomi sees a link between language and the body.
In a powerful poem about language and power, the poet tells the story of walking with a small child who wonders at the wind, seeking the right word for it. She writes, “Oblivious now to what had enchanted him / Moments before I gave him that word. / The word that bound up senses and wonder and magic / Dismissing them into knowing.” Giomi has a deft touch for expressing this awe and curiosity, and for acknowledging the ways people don’t let these feelings into their daily lives. If the book has one clear message, it is to appreciate the world and those within it.
For people working through an illness, or for their caregivers, this volume offers an empathetic voice. Many will recognize their own reactions and suffering, and they will be inspired by Giomi’s efforts to transcend circumstances and find wonder in her world.