Thursday, July 14, 2011

If The Potter’s Hands Shake by Renee Summers

If The Potter’s Hands Shake
Renee Summers

Review by Rene Schwiesow

Poet Renee Summers is no stranger to publishing. Her work has appeared in “Spare Change News,” “Ibbetson Street Press,” “The Aurorean,” and “West Crooke Review,” as well as in other presses. Summers has a love for the written and spoken word and enjoys the time she spends reading poetry for the blind on The Talking Information Center, based at WATD Radio Station in Marshfield, MA. She is always looking for those who may be willing join her in the studio to donate a half hour of their time reading on her show.

“If the Potter’s Hands Shake” is Summers second collection of poetry. The work is filled with nature, family, war, and accepting the personal responsibility for “molding the clay,” rather than projecting all blame onto the Divine. If the Divine is the Potter, Summers feels that we are the hands:

He is the Potter, His craft is infinite;
we are his hands that conceive
on life’s wheel the passion,
the adjectives of countless mores
destructed from individual flaws.

She remembers the Holocaust in works such as “Butterflies of Thieresenstadt” and “To Every One There is a Name,” and speaks to terrorism in “Terror:”

came over the boundaries
with snake eyes glazed.

Though Summers addresses the difficult subject of war and the gut-wrenching losses we endure as a result of war, the book is not only a treatise for putting down arms. No, Summers blends all of life together, turning the clay of her experience with a deft hand, knowing the paradox of taking the “bad” along with the “good.” In the first section of the book entitled, “Nature,” Summers addresses nature from gardening to the cosmos:

As the year ends
the cold blue moon
wearing a halo of angelic dust,
a necklace of jewels,
rises in the darkening firmament
to sit upon the edge of the universe.

I am not a winter person, but the visuals in the above strophe from “Colors,” almost give me cause to reconsider my dislike for winter.

The book is separated into three sections. In the final section, “family and other collected poems” Summers has penned a touching, nostalgic work entitled “The Portrait.” The poem is in honor of her grandparents and reading it was a beautiful reminder of all generations that have gone before us.

The sepia photo on the wall
grows to let me step inside

For information on “If the Potter’s Hands Shake” as well as for information on the Talking Information Center, Renee Summers can be contacted at:

Rene Schwiesow is co-host of the popular South Shore venue, The Art of Words. You can reach Rene at

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