In iridescent, intimate lines, Beauty Refracted is a stunning tapestry of the ways we are marked by time. From the “unstaunchable grief” of losing a parent to the experience of raising a child through adolescence, Moldaw peels back the veil of the everyday to discover the metaphysical passions hidden underneath.
“In Carol Moldaw’s sixth collection, the veils between worlds shimmer and thin: a young girl grows up out of a vivid imaginary world; a dead father appears barefoot in a dream. Life, time, and mind river and loop in these poems, as Moldaw investigates mystery and memory, the losses and lightness that accrue with all change. Earthy in diction, elegant in syntax, Beauty Refracted is a rich, surprising, and moving read.” Dana Levin
“The word ‘refract’ derives from the Latin refringere, from re- ‘back’ + frangere ‘to break.’ To break, to break open, to be annealed and broken open anew—these inevitable motions of a pilgrim’s progress are the turf of Carol Moldaw’s new poems, whose formal, organizing trope is the ‘loop,’ that circular continuum that non-linearly crosses and recrosses itself. Loops of rivers, arroyo motorcycle roadways, dreams, Eros’s electric current. The loop that connects an old father’s passing with a young daughter’s maturation from girldom into selfhood. Or, as Moldaw puts it: ‘trade routes, rivers, the routes of the dead.’ Whether what’s literally being traversed is New Mexico, India, Virginia, a hospital room, or the magic carpet of a child’s story-time bed, Moldaw’s poems fearlessly abide on ‘the earth still spinning atilt its daily axis // as it orbits the sun and the moon orbits it, / our deadly fuels, our feuds and constant perils.’ Through the forays of Moldaw’s imagination, beauty and truth continuously recalibrate, re-set themselves. ‘Who can say how?’ she writes in the title poem, ‘She woke, not to a kiss // but to herself.’” Lisa Russ Spaar