The poems in Wind Leaves Absence are steeped in loss and lament as they concern the death of the poet’s family members and follow her subsequent journey through grief. Sickness and old age come to her father, and her two brothers are taken before their time, two years apart. The collection’s tone is often elegiac, but rarely maudlin, and the clipped narrative is frequently imbued with lyrical strains. Through these emotional counterpoints to life’s implacable realities, Mary Maxwell learns that self-recrimination, denial, or anger cannot change the course of events. She teaches us that grief is a singular and deeply emotional experience and the poems convey this intimacy. This poetry offers a clear and empathetic path to a very specific emotional wellness.
Mary Maxwell has published articles, short fiction, opinion pieces, and poems. She worked as a registered nurse for forty years, has degrees in English, and extensive study in grief counselling. She has one previous poetry book, Arrangements (Hag Papers, 1995). Her work has appeared in anthologies with McGraw Hill Ryerson, St Peter’s Press, NeWest Press, and Rowan Books (1994–2003), as well as in Grain Magazine, NeWest Review, CV2, and Descant. Maxwell lives in Saskatoon.