Open Terri Kirby Erickson’s book, Becoming the Blue Heron, and enter a world of light. You will encounter the warmth of loving parents, a granny dragged by a cow, the intimacy of nature, and the shock of unimaginable loss. Beauty and brokenness nestle side by side in this lovely collection. Each moment glimmers even more brightly against the shadow of sorrow, and the poet never loses sight of a realm where everyone is whole. We begin to believe, as she does, that “here, there/is only goodness and mercy, the light of a million stars . . .” – Ann Campanella, author of Motherhood: Lost and Found
Come fly with me, Sinatra invited.I invite readers to soar with Terri Kirby Erickson through her remarkable book, Becoming the Blue Heron. Erickson’s poems take us to the mysteries of the natural world and the world of family and friends with magical sureness. The language is almost biblical in its intensity and rhythms. Whether dancing to zydeco on “floorboards glowing like embers” or playing the slots in a casino where “loss howls from the hills,” we are swept along by Erickson’s masterful use of movement and mood. She is just as adept with simile and metaphor in her portraits of wildlife, and the wild side of the people in this collection. Her great grandmother who was dragged by a cow, “mouth open as an unlatched gate,” is rendered with great humor and tenderness. As are close family, especially her brother, lost too soon. Love graces these family poems with a beautiful and deep understanding of human frailty. She inhabits the creatures she writes about, the horses “so perfect clouds formed in their shape,” barn owls “the final Valentine for rodents,” vultures with “heads like chain mail hoods,” and the heron she ultimately becomes, lifting this reader with the author on those “great blue wings.” – Diana Pinckney, author of The Beast and The Innocent
“Terri has the rare gift of seeing with her heart and speaking with her soul. Her poems give voice to those nebulous feelings that for most of us, words all-too-often can’t describe. She has a sensibility that both warms the inner self and invites deeper thought. Open yourself to the enchantments of this book, and let her take you to places only a master poet can reach.” -Arthur Brice, Executive Editor, CNN
Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of five full-length collections of award-winning poetry. Her work has appeared in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry,” Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Literary Mama, NASA News & Notes, North Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press), The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Verse Daily, and many others. Awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, Gold Medal in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award.
Link to column by editor and author John Railey of The Winston-Salem Journal about Becoming the Blue Heron: Flying with a poet for the best of causes
Link to interview of TKE by author Curtis Smith: JMWW: Becoming the Blue Heron