The Rough Edge of Joy


44 pages
8" x 6" single signature with hand sewn binding
Published December 2016

In The Rough Edge of Joy, Francine Marie Tolf explores grief, childhood memories and the challenges of growing older, all with laser vision for specific details.  In “The Hall You Walked Down,” her sister Gail is not simply wearing earrings, she is wearing “those defiant earrings” that must have been hard to put on.  Leaves “like green fire in morning sun” end the poem “Chrysanthemum Leaves.”  A turtle “snailed across brick” in “What We Keep.”  The specificity of these images grounds these poems in the universal.  In several poems, such as “Letter to a Woman I’ll Name Natalie” and “For Matthew, Who Will Not Remember Me,” Tolf paints beautiful portraits of people one meets in passing.  Matthew, a young boy, asks incessant, yet insightful, questions on a bus.  His mother, busy with a baby, never answers. No matter.  Matthew looks out the window at the dark wintery landscape and wonders, “Who made the snow?”