In her debut poetry collection, Out of Nowhere, writer and teacher Susan Comninos meditates on the wonderment of the natural world and the tension between nature’s consistency and its changes. She notices similarities in art, such as the nudists who visit the Louvre and become their own installations. Some of her poems appear to have come out of the pandemic; the speaker in the poem “Question for the Sages” finds beauty in times when people feel that there is no reason to celebrate, as in “the bluebells that keep rising / from the moist dirt by the dumpster,” providing bits of hope.
Most poems have brief epigraphs that indicate address, like “A Love Poem” for the speaker’s mother, which begins, “Adonai of night and of flowers, / God of my life. I was not expected to be / beautiful. When flowers grew from my hands, I surprised everyone / but my mother.” Some of her poems include Jewish symbols or Hebrew or Yiddish words. Others, such as “Our Father, Our King” and “We Have Trespassed,” invoke Jewish High Holy Day prayers and voice frustration with male-centric liturgy.
Many poems depict traveling or wandering. In the “Arctic Traveler,” about a fox who walks thousands of miles across ice, the speaker asks a series of questions:
taste kept you slipping
across continents, meted
in miles, from your glossed
caps in sunlight, all
summer — to this
There is love in wanderlust, the poet seems to say, and animals and their habitats ought to be revered. She meditates further on the relationship between humans and the natural world when she notes that many people — like the men driving a truck around a dog park aimlessly in the poem “At the Dog Park, Late” — intend to disrupt its balance.
Full of lyricism, Comninos’s poems intersperse natural beauty with love, loss, and faith while paying homage to meaningful places and people in her life.
Jamie Wendt is the author of the poetry collection Fruit of the Earth, published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company (2018) and winner of the 2019 National Federation of Press Women Book Award. Her poetry has been published in various literary journals and anthologies, including Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility, Lilith, Raleigh Review, Minerva Rising, Third Wednesday, and Saranac Review. Her essays and book reviews have been published in Green Mountains Review, the Forward, Literary Mama, and others. She holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska Omaha. She teaches high school English and lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.