Touch: The Journal of Healing



The Voice of Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

As with prior issues of Touch: The Journal of Healing, the selections for the Editor’s Choice this month come from a poet who is new to us.  Though her publication credits are prolific, I first learned of Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas through a group of poems she sent to us this past February.  I was immediately taken with the strength of her writing and impressed by her attention to craft, so much so, that after reviewing her submissions with Daniel, we agreed to invite her to submit more of her work.  Her additional poems were written with the same degree of intensity and attention to detail as were her first offerings which only made our final choice of which poems to publish all the more difficult.

Through our correspondence over the past few months, Carol has shared many of the inspirations for her poetry.  This has made me appreciate her work all the more.  Thematically, Carol’s work is well in tune with the kind of work we seek for publication.  It explores our human struggles to heal from loss, the processes we go through to recover from loss in all forms, the growth in spirit and maturity that often seems to follow, and the new sense of purpose we find in our lives.  In addition, Carol’s work captures an aspect of growth and a gaining in insight, and each of the poems we selected portrays a positive connection between two people to overcome or accept adversity.  We could not have asked for more.

We begin with “There is no sleep for one who prays,” a poem that opens with “The night you slept with a tube in your throat / I begged the nurse to let me stay.”  Immediately we are transported to a hospital bedside where the narrator sits beside an older relative.  When selecting poetry for publication, I always look for work that is immediate, clear, and makes me want to know more.  Through turns in time and recollections from the past, you will learn much about the narrator and subject in this poem, their aspirations, their relationship, and their reality.

The second poem is “Unborn Offspring,” a sonnet which I have read many times.  What I find so wonderful about this poem is that it has layers that are not quite apparent on the first few readings.  With each read I gain new insight only to have that insight challenged when I read it again.  With respect to the narrator, I have still not settled on who is speaking, nor can I confirm to whom the poem is directed.  It is filled with vibrant imagery that is immediately appreciated, but what sets it apart is how its layers are interwoven.

Next we find a second sonnet, “The Cancer Diagnosis,” which takes place while two people are waiting for the results of a medical test.  From the title, we know the reason for the test, but what I found so powerful is the poem’s ability to convey the depth of the relationship that has developed between the narrator and subject.  We feel their apprehension, but there is no use of dialogue, only the sound of a single sigh.  In addition, the poem has wonderful rhythm and sound.

The final poem is “Child Interrupted.”  With this poem, we find very clear imagery, but what I appreciate most about this piece is the degree to which the imagery impacts the narrator's reflections of the child interrupted and how she is able to infuse action into her imagery.  The first six words, “ I can almost see your face,” prepares us for what is to come and conveys the degree to which she still feels that loss.

Through her poetry, Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas teaches us that healing can be an ever-changing, ongoing process.  It requires patience, reflection, and acceptance if we are to move through its many dimensions and stages.  There is no one correct path to follow, but follow we must along whatever path has been set before us.  Poetry is more than the combination of different methods and techniques of writing, it requires insight, honesty, and the ability to choose carefully the moments that will be portrayed.  These four poems are proof of this, and it is why they were selected as this editor’s choice.

It is with great pleasure that I present to you a voice of Touch:

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor

Copyright © 2012

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.

Editor’s Choice