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Headmistress Press

Odd Mercy

Gail Thomas


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The centerpiece of Odd Mercy is “The Little Mommy Sonnets,” a crown of sonnets that carries us poignantly through the life and death of the poet’s mother, as well as their complicated bond over time. I was impressed with Gail Thomas’ dedication to craft, her richness of detail and especially her deft transitions from the end line of one sonnet to the opening line of the next. The challenge here is to repeat the line, but to make it new, to show us another facet, and Thomas does that so skillfully in these poems, propelling us forward through the narrative. Poetry uses words to convey what is beyond words, to say the unsayable. The last line of Odd Mercy expresses this paradox tenderly as the poet reflects on her mother: “your words/now gibberish, your voice always in my head.”
—Ellen Bass, Judge of the Charlotte Mew Prize

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