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What's Left Over

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We are enriched by all of life’s experiences be they joy or heartbreak, shadow or light. Bavetta’s vivid images and metaphors invite us into these poems of love and sorrow. Without restraint, she shares the heart of a long and fulfilling marriage. Divided into four sections, each introduced by a brief poetic phrase, we experience the beginning of loss, the memory of joy, t We are enriched by all of life’s experiences be they joy or heartbreak, shadow or light. Bavetta’s vivid images and metaphors invite us into these poems of love and sorrow. Without restraint, she shares the heart of a long and fulfilling marriage. Divided into four sections, each introduced by a brief poetic phrase, we experience the beginning of loss, the memory of joy, the final hours, and the courage to regain a life that continues alone.


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We are enriched by all of life’s experiences be they joy or heartbreak, shadow or light. Bavetta’s vivid images and metaphors invite us into these poems of love and sorrow. Without restraint, she shares the heart of a long and fulfilling marriage. Divided into four sections, each introduced by a brief poetic phrase, we experience the beginning of loss, the memory of joy, t We are enriched by all of life’s experiences be they joy or heartbreak, shadow or light. Bavetta’s vivid images and metaphors invite us into these poems of love and sorrow. Without restraint, she shares the heart of a long and fulfilling marriage. Divided into four sections, each introduced by a brief poetic phrase, we experience the beginning of loss, the memory of joy, the final hours, and the courage to regain a life that continues alone.

17 review for What's Left Over

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Still Life with Tax Return Paperwork from Social Security and the Norwegian pension. Yellow highlighter smudged with ink, calculations on the backs of unfinished poems, sphygmomanometer. Thick pile of medical expenses-- doctors, prescriptions, cremation. Records of donations—his shirts, six pairs of pajamas, faded jeans, his astronomy books, his favorite shoes. Empty stapler, broken box of paperclips. Cup of coffee grown bitter, no sugar. Remember the ditty from The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??” Do you rea Still Life with Tax Return Paperwork from Social Security and the Norwegian pension. Yellow highlighter smudged with ink, calculations on the backs of unfinished poems, sphygmomanometer. Thick pile of medical expenses-- doctors, prescriptions, cremation. Records of donations—his shirts, six pairs of pajamas, faded jeans, his astronomy books, his favorite shoes. Empty stapler, broken box of paperclips. Cup of coffee grown bitter, no sugar. Remember the ditty from The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??” Do you realize That happiness makes you cry? Do you realize That everyone you know someday will die? I can sing along to this, maybe feel a frisson in my soul on the final line of the chorus, but, inevitably, it’s all abstract and I move on with living and planning. Sure—I “realize” everyone I know will die someday. After reading Ruth Bavetta’s “What’s Left Over,” though, I cannot comfortably compartmentalize emotions and thoughts on the death of loved ones. In a series of poetic vignettes, Bavetta establishes the love she shared with her husband and the emotional repercussions of losing him. Bavetta avoids reducing the death of a loved one to a series of maudlin scenes conveying nothing more than a pedestrian “And I am sad.” Rather, Bavetta anchors her emotions in rich imagery which immerses a reader into the reality of losing a loved one, the reality of accessing “what’s left over.” While neither are exact reproductions, I recommend Julia Kane’s Jazz Funeral as well as Joan Colby’s Joyriding to Nightfall as complementary poetry collections. If you choose to read all three, I also recommend you save Ruth Bavetta’s “What’s Left Over” for last: Colby’s tangents to her overall theme would seem flighty and Kane eulogies would seem to lack depth if read after Bavetta. Almost There She worked her roster of duties, stood watch instead of sleeping. She made it past the days she gave him sips of water from a spoon, navigated the shoals of his failing and regaining, weathered his sinking through August into fall. Now she’s unloaded the ballast of shirts and shoes he left behind, swum through the black of nights without solace, of dawns that brought no light. Her ship is nearing port. Alone is what she’s learning. She’s almost there.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alarie

    Ruth Bavetta is an artist who also paints with words. Her poems are so visual that we immediately step inside them. She knows that choosing the right details is as important as deciding what to leave out. This is the fourth time I’ve said something to this effect in a 5-star review for her, yet each of Bavetta’s books also has its own personality. What’s Left Over is a little less visual in approach: shorter, sparer poems that are poignantly heart breaking as she loses her beloved husband first t Ruth Bavetta is an artist who also paints with words. Her poems are so visual that we immediately step inside them. She knows that choosing the right details is as important as deciding what to leave out. This is the fourth time I’ve said something to this effect in a 5-star review for her, yet each of Bavetta’s books also has its own personality. What’s Left Over is a little less visual in approach: shorter, sparer poems that are poignantly heart breaking as she loses her beloved husband first to dementia, then to death. It must take every writing super power she has to balance love and loss, regret and gratitude, to speak in such clear, brief poems and say all that needs to be said. The title brilliantly captures that balance between what is lost and what once felt is never fully lost. In “Almost Overnight,” she describes the change of seasons, “wild mustard past its tawny fling.” She ends “to days without a shadow, to days of hard clear light.” Read out of context, this would be a brief, lovely nature poem. She doesn’t have to tell us that it’s grief that makes days too full of hard clear light. Amid the brief poems that capture a few seconds of pain, we find “The Dementia Pantoum.” Both grief and dementia are well suited to formal poetry like pantoums and villanelles that repeat or rephrase an idea. Day after day we hit the repeat button. “His bed is by the window facing west. Is this our house? he asks. Do I live here?” By telling us more about who her husband was and what she treasures of him, Bavetta shifts the balance from regret to gratitude. This poetry is a reflection of what is real, true, and worth hanging onto.

  3. 5 out of 5

    FutureCycle Press

    We are the publisher, so all of our authors get five stars from us. Excerpts: ENOUGH Too many streets in this city, with their spines drawn white, their paving black as loss. As many as the branches of winterbare sycamores leading away from home. As many as the veins that trace their course through our bodies. Central Avenue, broad and straight, leads directly to the beating heart of downtown. Sunset Drive takes you to the aging painted ladies and their scrolls of gingerbread trim. There’s the avenue of cance We are the publisher, so all of our authors get five stars from us. Excerpts: ENOUGH Too many streets in this city, with their spines drawn white, their paving black as loss. As many as the branches of winterbare sycamores leading away from home. As many as the veins that trace their course through our bodies. Central Avenue, broad and straight, leads directly to the beating heart of downtown. Sunset Drive takes you to the aging painted ladies and their scrolls of gingerbread trim. There’s the avenue of cancer, the boulevard of diabetes, the irregular lane following fibrillation of the heart, the wandering way of dementia with its bridge broken over the river of self. THE NOMENCLATURE OF DESIRE The name of the lily is the name I had before I was born. Before white, before red, before the moon carved itself into one thin hair. The name of the sea is salt and spray and flat blue under pale. My lover’s name is written on my palm. The name of the grass is always.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Ruth Bavetta's latest collection of poems is dedicated to her late husband and shares - in beautifully crafted, heart-piercing poems - the experience of caring for a dying partner after a long and tender marriage and then moving forward, somehow, to what comes next. Even the words that separate each section of the collection have unforgettable beauty - e.g., "He cannot walk but he wants me to bring him his shoes" - "I love him as I love my shadow" - "One year after he died,/ his watch, still run Ruth Bavetta's latest collection of poems is dedicated to her late husband and shares - in beautifully crafted, heart-piercing poems - the experience of caring for a dying partner after a long and tender marriage and then moving forward, somehow, to what comes next. Even the words that separate each section of the collection have unforgettable beauty - e.g., "He cannot walk but he wants me to bring him his shoes" - "I love him as I love my shadow" - "One year after he died,/ his watch, still running." The poems are heartbreaking but also hopeful; reading them, I felt grateful to live in a world where deep love can mean deep loss, but where the love remains despite everything. This is a perfect gift for anyone who is grieving the death of a partner.. or anyone who savors the joy of an exquisitely chosen image or lyrical line of verse ... I loved it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Koeeoaddi

    An absolute masterpiece of grief and beauty. Rich in imagery, but not a single wasted word. Every single poem is a stunner.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gina Whitlock

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen Burgess

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dirk Van

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Hanson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hermione

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ken

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nina

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