Uncertainty (The Only Hope We Have), by Paula J. Lambert-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

Uncertainty (The Only Hope We Have), by Paula J. Lambert

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Paula J. Lambert
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Poetry, chapbook, 24 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

In this collection, Paula J. Lambert once again turns to birds as central images: the Common Murre, the pigeon, the European Starling. And once again the birds stand for so much more: climate crisis, dystopian existence, species extinction. Uncertainty does indeed read as hope in these poems that read like stories, setting retro sci-fi movies (The Blob and its remake) against Dante’s Inferno; Nikola Tesla against a 9/11 Memorial gone wrong; and modern murmurations against the history of augury—with a nod to Mozart that fits right in. 

“Who is there,” Lambert asks, “who does not love this world / we’ve all defiled? Who is there, / but us, to save it?” We just might discover that “the strands of our lives made sense all along. / That we and the bright and beautiful birds / don’t have to die, that we all can go on living / and living and living.” It’s a noble thought and not a naive one for, as the poet points out, “Our place in the world has always been / uncertain.” What’s left, she asks, “but to stick together, to sing and to soar where we are, / when we can. […] To trust the sky and rise. / To rise and rise / again.”

Paula J. Lambert is a literary and visual artist from Ohio. Her full-length poetry collections include The Ghost of Every Feathered Thing (FutureCycle 2022); How to See the World, a finalist in the 2021 Ohioana Book Awards (Bottom Dog 2020); and The Sudden Seduction of Gravity (Full/Crescent 2012). She has also authored several chapbooks and is a nascent literary translator. Awarded the 2021 PEN America - L'Engle Rahman Prize for Mentorship, Lambert's work has been supported by the Ohio Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She is the 2023 winner of the Slippery Elm Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club's Amy Lowell Prize, was awarded a 2021 Editor's Choice Award from Sheila-Na-Gig Online, and was the 2019 winner of the Heartland Broadside Series. Lambert owns Full/Crescent Press, a small publisher of poetry books and broadsides, through which she has founded and supported numerous public readings and festivals that support the intersection of poetry and science. She lives in Columbus with her husband, Dr. Michael Perkins, a philosopher and technologist. More at www.paulajlambert.com.