With a Gift for Burning

Apol, L. (2018). With a gift for burning. Georgetown, KY:  Finishing Line Press

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Reviews from Amazon

"With a Gift for Burning" by Laura ApolI don’t know of any poems more heartbreaking than these. Only a poet of such talent, such seering openness could thread together words about a lost mother, a lost daughter, and make them as tough and tender as spider webs. There is no false consolation here, but what is, what was, is put through the fire of poetry and comes out purer, still.

–Lorna Crozier, former Distinguished Professor of Writing at the University of Victoria, Winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, most recently author of What the Soul Doesn’t Want


The gifts in Laura Apol’s With a Gift for Burning are the very poems themselves, hard won and precise, uttered in solitude against the ash of familial disintegration. It’s her “inheritance,” as she says in one poem. Yet, in every line, Apol expresses the desire to connect—hence, the burning in the title:  love offered unconditionally again and again, nature providing the only solace. “Shards of shell, fish bones / picked clean,” yes, but also salmon returning, cattails exploding “in a thousand furred tongues.”

–Dennis Hinrichsen, Poet Laureate of Lansing, Michigan, most recently author of Skin Music 


To read these poems is to row your boat into the straits of motherhood. You are always alone and never alone in that fragile and tensile craft. Something is burning, smoldering, flaming up into language and the hope of reciprocity. Reader, take heart, row until you get to yes.

–Jane Taylor, most recently author of Pencil Light

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