Kelsay Books, 2022
“The poems of Anchor enter your consciousness like ‘warm summer air/ eased through the open window,’ in a poem about two young girls, a ouija board, and a voice from beyond. Everything in these deeply humane poems—water, air, fire, people—is invested with life, and layered with death. In fall, smoke from burning leaves is ‘like memories of something lost, something that stings the eyes.’ Photographed lying on the sand with his ‘little rump in the air,’ is a drowned refugee toddler to whom the water ‘meant to be/peaceful, like a mother’s hand.’ Lewis draws surfaces beautifully, and lets you feel the mystery behind every surface.”
Alicia Ostriker, author of The Volcano and After: Selected and New Poems 2002-2019
New York State Poet, 2018-2021
“Reading Anchor is like dreaming a lightning storm while seabound, from start to finish, moon as witness, your own hands wrapped around the pages of the vessel. In her sublime, sonorous book of poems, Lewis builds a boat of nautical, nocturnal imagery to pull us out into her sea of motherhood, and anchors us in that world with historical vignettes of brilliant, subtle relevance. Lewis shows us how the journey is ending even as it’s begun, how we are all adrift, in place and ashore exactly where we are; how although nothing is promised, we must still push the boat forward. Every mother, sailor and passenger in the sea of life should read this captivating and sublunary collection of poems.”
Joan Kwon Glass, author of How to Make Pancakes for a Dead Boy and Night Swim
“How I loved Issa Lewis’s debut collection. The poems seem created from the four elements that sustain us all—fire, air, earth, and water. I was stunned as the words gathered around ‘a heart heavy,’ with ‘thoughts too long for breath.’ There is the constant movement of waves and tides, promising ‘the loss of things,’ always on the verge of heat. Lewis dares to speak of this fury and ‘pain on a scale so exquisite, it becomes craving, it becomes moon pulling tide.’ The poems are so well-crafted, they are as natural as breath. I will return again and again to Anchor to experience these poems for a ‘heady, out-of-control moment/to touch both sand and sky…'”
Jennifer Martelli, author of My Tarantella and In the Year of Ferraro
Purchase Anchor on Amazon or through Kelsay Books.
Finishing Line Press, 2017
“Issa Lewis offers both ode and elegy to a way of life by recording the history of one Michigan farming family. In 20 sonnets, Lewis attempts to answer the speaker’s central question: “What holds a house together?” She traces a family from early 20th century homestead through WWII and on to the end of the century, and even when the people have left the land and the house, the ghosts continue to hold. Infinite Collisions is a testament to Lewis’ skills as a poet and to her love for her subjects.”
Sandy Longhorn, author of The Alchemy of My Mortal Form
“I marvel at these poems. From the opening lines of the collection, Issa Lewis deftly performs her theme, illuminating for the reader how life stitches us into place and how memory coheres in the material world once we’re gone. In the middle of the book, a son leaves for war as a mother sews, “red thread weaving in and through,” and “only when she sets the blue star’s place/ does she drop the needle, hide her face.” The reader intuits that Lewis continues a family tradition of witness, of skill. These poems know the complex interweaving of grief and loveliness.”
Joanna Penn Cooper, author of What Is a Domicile
Purchase Infinite Collisions on Amazon or through Finishing Line Press.