These masterful elegies follow the contours of a troubled mother-daughter relationship, explore the paradoxes of mourning, and relish the complicated joys of perseverance to map not only how one makes sense of the world but also how one reenters it after experiencing a transformative loss.
Divided into four sections, this poignant collection begins with “Terra Inferna,” which chronicles a single mother’s attempt to raise her daughter in 1980s rural Georgia. “Terra Incognita” follows the daughter’s journey across states, out of devastating poverty, and into a loving marriage, as her mother loses her battle with colon cancer. In “Terra Nova,” the speaker meditates on her mother’s passing, her crisis of meaning turning to revelation of legacy’s love. “Terra Firma” brings closure, as the speaker reconciles her grief while rediscovering how to find joy in life’s small moments.