Edited by Ellen Wade Beals

Hourglass Books, $9.99, 228 pages

How do you define solace? How do you find it?  Author Ellen Wade Beals sought answers to these questions and put a call out to writers for fiction, poetry, and essays. The result is a moving anthology, edited by Beals, titled Solace in So Many Words. Everyone experiences loss, whether of a family member, pet, or a greater loss (9/11, Haiti, Hurricane Katrina). Before reading this book my definition of solace was narrow – compassion, comfort, kindness. I now realize it is so much more. Solace is love, hope, honesty, ritual, humor, and connection. Susan Spaeth Cherry, in her poem Predictability, finds comfort in the expected parts of the day that mean life moves on and continues after loss. Ellen Bass’ poem Jack Gottlieb’s In Love describes an 88 year old’s second chance at love: “Life, that desperate addict, has mugged and robbed him in the street, and then she appears…” In a world filled with uncertainty and change, the need for solace will always exist. Give yourself a chance to gain new perspective from the words of 52 talented poets and writers. You’ll be thankful you did.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin