Finishing Line Press
is pleased to announce the publication of The Need for a Bridge by Joyce Wilson
June 2019 Review by David Katz:
Joseph Conrad once wrote that his task as an author is “to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see.”
In her deeply pleasurable new book of 20 poems, The Need for a Bridge, Joyce Wilson fulfills Conrad’s mission by engaging
the reader’s ear, emotions, and vision. Wilson does so by focusing on a single area of human endeavor: the need people have
for bridges, how they go about building them, how they (like civilizations) rise and fall, and the uses folks put to them.
In a series of clearly drawn profile/portraits, she enables us to see the bridge through the eyes of a variety of people.
First, there’s the perspective of “Seventy-year-old Miss Sally Fulton” waiting for a ferry in the 1700s, who may have felt
the first inkling that a bridge over Massachusetts’s Fore River might make life easier. In subsequent poems, we assume the
views of a commuter, a journalist, an engineer, a pilot, a baker (who’s transporting across the bridge a cake as “airy as
goose down, the icing as sweet as a song”), and more. Particularly pleasurable is the way Wilson deploys her expert verse
to depict the way technology works — describing, for instance, a temporary bridge called “Erector Set” as teetering on its
“panels, pins, and bolts on shaky piers.” Ultimately, of course, bridges can’t be separated from the rivers they span, and
Wilson ends with a celebratory meditation on both: “Let us observe/The time we spend together/And praise this bridge,/Our
most recent endeavor./We look out over the water.”
— David M. Katz, author of Stanzas on Oz and Claims of Home
(both Dos Madres Press).