A Poetry Collection
Her Body Listening, the newest collection by poet Cheryl Pallant, is a poetic reflection of her final year in training as a Healing Touch practitioner. Poems grounded in the energetic body and written with rhythmic word associations reflect somatic wisdom and a deep listening tied to earth and spirit. Each poem evokes an awareness of healing and the subtle energies coursing through the body. Her style is reminiscent of the language play of Gertrude Stein and the jazz improvisations of John Coltrane. The poems urge a meditative presence with one’s body and a recognition of the poetic slipperiness of language.
What people are saying about Her Body Listening
The body. It’s not static, that’s for sure. It is a complex multiplicity of energies being produced through an interlocking movement of cells; a globular flowing of blood; an energetic spark of a nervous system. How to write the body? Pallant enters the ever changing mutability of the body with language that kinesthetically charges sentences, bleeds words into juxtapositions, and channels passions as vehicles to transcend and heal. This doesn’t happen through description; Pallant allows us to feel it through eros (the spark of imagination), channeled into a unique rhythmic pulse: “Faith in/paving ways and ripping out weeds. Gain in/breath easy rooted in wood, sky, and be./This is how/to thrive.” This is how Her Body Listening illumines the ecstatic plane—and reading this book will illumine yours.
In this lovely volume, Pallant suffuses sentience with Vision. “She knows to unknow what’s been told”. Reminiscent of the reachingly brilliant works of Leonor Fini , these poems unite the oddity of occupying a body, miraculous yet nevertheless aware of one’s self-awareness, in a subtle “out of body” listening of great learning. It is the percipience of soul and its teaching body in return to float amongst opposing waves of beliefs, to welcome unnamable inversions exerting their age-old influence on beings, in what we finally can only call other. Questioning, then revitalizing her materials, Pallant variously, cannily blends the fine particulates of langue to resolutely induct her very own sense of causation.
In this new poetry collection, Cheryl Pallant plays both with the harsh discordance of language and its soothing homophones “line by line, sharps by flats, horn by heard.” Ornette Coleman’s free jazz comes to mind.
Her Body Listening shows us how reading itself can be a form of therapy, can remind us to breathe and to release the holds that hinder. Many titles of these poems read as directives: “Illumine the Ecstatic Plane,” “Expose Beauty,” “Dance Concentric Waves.” Or perhaps as spells, as an enchanted language in which Steinian wordplay abounds. We may be witnessing a return to full possession of the human faculties through unfailing trust in the female body in all its facts, mysteries, and potent verbs. We may find hope for a future in which “Bees swarm near hives, far from extinction, a honeying of days to come.”