In Land Marks, Sharon Tracey’s third book of poetry, the poet has created a body of work that evokes what Robin Wall Kimmerer describes as the longing to live in a world made of gifts, for “we have grown weary of the sour taste in [our]mouths”––the sour that comes from being obsessed with the economy of commodity. And though you will find commodity in Land Marks, you will find them in Tracey’s astute taxonomy of flora and fauna: California quail and gray fox after a wildfire; North Atlantic Right Whale about to be autopsied; Saguaros that provide haven to the elf owls./ Tracey is doing the heavy lift of trying to bring us to a fundamental understanding: being on this earth means being connected to everything in it. And she manages this task with methodical pleasure and focus when she bids us in “To All the Starlings,” to be “open and aware of all the others.” And by “all” she means it!: horses, cetaceans and crustaceans, chickens, pigs, wildcats, ants, “the last red wolf.”/ Come one, come all.
— Jiwon Choi, MER, August 2023 read the full review here
"The poet Wendell Berry reminds us, “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places,” and here in Land Marks, Sharon Tracey takes the reader from coastal dunes to red rock deserts to Antarctic blue ice in search of the sacred and the damaged, the every-day and the mysterious. This book is a feast of holy geographies, a compendium of rituals for worship and attention, a catalog of reasons for praise, and of urgent questions of hope, meaning, and survival in a world “of cruelty and beauty in equal measure.” Amidst uncertainty, global strife, and our own human insignificance, these piercing, keen-eyed, compassion-rich poems arrive at both mercy and mourning, reminding the reader that we may not know the land’s hymns, but we can – and should – as Tracey does so beautifully, “try to sing them anyway.”
— Corrie Williamson, author of The River Where You Forgot My Name & Sweet Husk
"Land Marks is a meditative travelogue meticulously engaged with the specificities of place, a record of the ways in which territory changes and is changed by those creatures, human and otherwise, who inhabit it. In these poems, Tracey trains a keen and tender gaze on landscapes across the North American continent and beyond, in an effort to “to take everything in. / The scope and prospect. The solace.” Deeply aware of the environmental tragedies that both haunt and stalk the late Anthropocene, Tracey nonetheless finds opportunities for glimmering praise. Window washers cleaning skyscrapers, ice cream melting in the desert, beetle cuneiform, unmown New England fields—we witness these afresh in Tracey’s limpid phrasing. In these pages, “perhaps you too / will find a place / you forgot you loved.”
— Carolyn Oliver, author of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble
"With precision and compassion, Sharon Tracey invites readers on an exploration of the connections between the humblest creatures that co-inhabit our shared space, from the east coast to the west, and the human species, offering at once a celebration of the natural world and an aching requiem to the relationships we did not create and may not be able to preserve."
— Erin O’Neill Armendarez, Editor in Chief, Aji Magazine
Chroma: Five Centuries of Women Artists
Paperback / ISBN: 978-1-951651-49-7 / Pages: 89 / 2020, Shanti Arts / $12.95
"In her collection of poetry Chroma, Sharon Tracey responds to 47 works of art by women artists whose work spans five centuries and 25 countries. In these ekphrastic poems, she is an astute and sensitive reader of paintings. She acts as a sort of visual translator, creating atmosphere and image, making us alert to the relationships at play: viewer with viewed, poet with painting with painter. Her language is fresh and lush. She writes of “paper-flat fields, pearled”; a waterfall is a “lithological myth-maker.” And it’s beautiful to the ear. Listen: “the shapes I love: / ligulate, spikelet, awn. / On the kitchen wall I hang / the sheath and blade.” The collection is broken into four “galleries” which move through time and place, with responses to Agnes Martin and Etel Adnan, and a number of lesser known artists, some of whom are still painting today. And there is wisdom here, too, about the act of not just of looking at a painting, but of looking: “upon entering / a painting: come look, let / something go.” Tracey, who lives in Western Mass, reminds us of the pleasure of pouring oneself into a painting, of what it is to commune with artist, art, and self."
—Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe, New England Literary News
"Sharon Tracey's ekphrases effortlessly transport you to other worlds and eras, but at the same time, deeper into your self. These poems are dizzy with just the right words. They remind us that the variety and elasticity of language is a profound pleasure… Her curiosity, astute observatory powers, and formidable flare for words make this collection a rare treasure."
—Lorette C. Luzajic, editor, The Ekphrastic Review
“In Chroma, art grows from art—organically, compellingly, and in such a way that the reader sees with a botanist’s eye and a mystic’s sense of revelation. This book draws us backward in time, but also inwards: into the mind of a modern viewer, into the lives of women painters across the centuries, and into their paintings, which are not only creations, but characters, catalysts, windows, worlds.”
—Libby Maxey, author of Kairos, winner, 2018 New Women's Voices Contest,Finishing Line Press
“In Chroma, Tracey has achieved a multifaceted dialogue, a meditation, a meeting place created between the artist and the poet... Chroma examines individual works by women artists merging themes of motherhood, sisterhood, love, work, spirituality, the full spectrum of what it means to be human to be a woman and a creator.”
—Sarah Sousa, author of poetry collections See the Wolf, Split the Crow, & Church of Needles
What I Remember Most Is Everything
Paperback / ISBN: 9780692836705 / Pages: 85 / 2017, All Caps Publishing / $10.00
“What I Remember Most is Everything is a collection of poems, which, like postcards, offer a dip of a painter’s brush, songs of youth, art and memories of San Francisco, of recollection and ekphrasis, a rich banquet of details. There is celebration through those details, some religious, some pastoral, a car crash, a near miss, love and loss, departure and reunion. Throughout the poems, in Sharon Tracey’s deeply visual sensibility, color melds with words as synesthesia.”
—Lori Desrosiers, author of poetry collections from Salmon Press & editor of Naugatuck River Review
“In the opening poem of What I Remember Most is Everything, the narrator, a young woman of 21, rides westward to California, a modern pioneer. Upon arrival, she exits the liminal space of the bus, which “emits us to time.” The poet employs color as both memory and context, writes of color as a language, possessing sound and heft..."
—Rebecca Hart Olander, author of Uncertain Acrobats & director of Perugia Press