Poetry. Asian American Studies. The poems in GATHERING THE PIECES are remarkable for their quiet insight and humility, for their keen attention to and transformation of the small details of a life. Carol Lem's is a true voice in sure command of her craft, and her clear and accessible vision gives us poems that reveal profound and essential understanding. Her themes are the transience of our lives and at the same time the beauty of nature that sustains us. Carol Lem's poems seem to rise from love—of friends, teachers, the art of teaching, the art of learning, and music, the bamboo flute, the notes, the silence between them, the hush at the end. Philip Levine, in a lovely tribute poem, tells the poet she "knows what work is" and "how to do it." The "work" of writing poetry is as ordinary as a day shift and, at the same time, fundamentally mysterious. Carol Lem knows how to do it.
Carol Lem, who lives in Sierra Madre, California and teaches creative writing and literature at East Los Angeles College, is the author of Searchings, Grassroots, Don't Ask Why, The Hermit, The Hermit's Journey: Tarot Poems for Meditation, Moe (Remembrance), SHADOW OF THE PLUM, and GATHERING THE PIECES. A reading of selected poems from SHADOW OF THE PLUM may be heard on her CD, Shadow of the Bamboo, with music by Masakazu Yoshizawa. Author City: SIERRA MADRE, CA USA