"Old people where I’m from are fond of saying “water only flows downhill.” There’s some peace and clarity to realizing the uselessness of fighting against that flow, of struggling against it upstream and into the past. The poems in Nadia Gerassimenko’s at the water’s edgeare diamond-clear in this same admonition. They build toward their point, admission by admission, one revelation after the next. These lines are created under heavy pressure from memories steeped in pain and abuse. When they are finally freed, poem by poem, they flow out in the the most amazing array of forms and deliveries. Prose poems, tender lyrics, monologues, secrets, nightmares, promises, oaths—at the water’s edge sings in full choir, sometimes in a dark key, sometimes hoarse with rage, sometimes tender with acceptance, but always full of conviction. Because the voice of these poems is so open, so honest, it reclaims all pain, all power. This voice, these poems “open a new door” to a future without broken days. There is, here, a steady flow forward without need of looking back. The gift of this wonderful collection is its forgiveness without forgetting, its redemption in place of regret. And because of this generosity, I cannot recommend these poems and this poet enough to all readers.
— Jack B. Bedell, Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana, 2017-2019
“...it’s not wrong to love deeply
feel vulnerable for others...”
this beautiful collection meanders between vigil and slumber. we are encouraged to take repose in her pains, in her reverence. she is innocence whispered, and woman endured. a diamond and a petal.
she matures directly in front of us, unassisted.
blooming and withering in the same line. i am reminded of what it must feel like to prick at your veins and suck at the blood. the taste of copper lingering in the mouth.
gently she chants“...i butchered my hair today asymmetrically, but it waves like vines, like freedom.”
a witch-mother at whatever age. nurturing her womb, as if she is in it. clawing. gnawing.
her mutation. her cunning. her softness. all inclusive.
she is honey, flower and Spring.
a merciless warmth swallowed. thorns and citrus in the eyes. warm oil on eyelids. a pliable rebirth."
— Ingrid M. Calderon-Collins, author of Things Outside, Wayward, Zenith & Ablution
"at the water's edge is a hymn in continuum. The engaging topography of this book explores varied forms of violence borne by a body. The poems are revelations of compelling regressions. In this journey of engaging with the strength in these poems, we ween the body a sacred space. This offering includes a symphony of poetic forms and encapsulates sensitivity as a reclamation of space. An essential book."
— Sneha Subramanian Kanta, author of Land: Body / Ocean: Muscle (dancing girl press), Charles Wallace Fellow, University of Stirling
"Nadia Gerassimenko’s at the water's edge is a powerful reclamation of a woman’s voice: through a skillful weaving of original and found sources, the reader is asked to witness illness and trauma, but also a rebirth through language which haunts and echoes. These poems ask you to read them again and again."
— Sarah Nichols, author of She May Be a Saint