Title: Encounter in April
Author: May Sarton
Rating: 5/5 stars
This was a real treat for me to find. I've been trying to track this book down for quite awhile and happened to come across this one on eBay a couple of weeks back and for a price that I simply couldn't pass up!
Truth be told, I always have a hard time reviewing poetry. Poetry can be so ethereal; each reading can give me something different to think about, so I never know quite what to write.
With Encounter in April, you can clearly see the beginnings of the life-long poet that May Sarton would become; the works are structured and clean, but don't quite have the polished emotion and raw confidence of her later poetry. These aren't poems to be taken lightly, however, as they are still powerful in their own right.
A prolific writer, May Sarton produced more than fifty volumes of fiction, poetry, children's books and journals over the course of her lifetime, as well as several self-published poetry editions. Encounter in April is her first published work, printed in 1937, followed in 1938 by her first novel, The Single Hound. She continued writing until the year she died in 1995, with her last journal, At Eighty-two: A Journal, published posthumously in 1996.
If you have never had the pleasure of reading May Sarton, I would recommend the following: Journal of a Solitude (perhaps her best known work, her record of living alone over the course of a year), A Reckoning (my first introduction to her writing, a powerful novel about coming to terms with your own death), Joanna and Ulysses (a charming tale about compassion and a donkey), The Fur Person (for anyone who loves their cat) and Coming into Eighty (her final book of poetry, and I think her most personal as she discovers that she is a stranger in the land of old age). It's hard to narrow down to just a few recommendations, as I think anything that Sarton wrote is worth reading, but these always stick out in my mind.
April, 2020 - I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!