Cover art © Tim Sullivan
And If the Dead Do Dream is a book of exquisite attention and remarkable encounters. The world that surrounds the poet breathes and speaks to her and through her: horse and squirrel, baobab and leaf, an old car, a piano, white tee shirts pegged along a clothesline. Anita Sullivan’s distinctive voice and finely tuned perception of the smallest things (“shadows flick like shuffled cards/from passing winter trees”) and those most vast (“we ride into the dreaming minds of the dead”) open wide the resonant spaces in between. Here is where “spontaneous visitations” and brilliant, quirky conversations happen. Here is where the grieving that pulses at the center of this collection comes to the surface and at the same time makes room to appreciate a leaf’s “act of frivolity in pure form.” I am filled with admiration for this moving, intriguing, delightful collection.
– Karen McPherson, author of Skein of Light
Anita Sullivan has always been absolutely herself. In this little book, she writes the way water might. And generously, for she offers her readers, among other truths, the following: that it’s possible to grow up where you’ve never been; that a leaf can choose to fall; that a sheep carries the eye of an extinct horse. Listen to her words for her husband: “At the bottom of the garden/the bush/the monkey/the weasel.//Is that not how I have always loved you?” Yes. Here we have an elixir of light and loss worth holding to our lips.
– Lola Haskins, author of how small, confronting morning