Bright Angels & Familiars: “Windows on the Sea” by Linda Sillitoe


Linda Sillitoe, who passed away recently, will undoubtedly be best remembered for her nonfiction, her journalism and her history. But she was also a poet and a writer of fiction, including two novels and today’s story (a quick read) about a woman who has lost her face saving her daughter from fireworks. She’s approaching the final skin graft of her hospital stay when she is approached by a troubled team with blue and orange hair, who needs a friend of a mother or something of her own.

Sillitoe’s prose is a nice blend of poetry and journalism. Listen to the first paragraph:


Strange that the world looked reassuringly the same although Lora Starkham would never look the same to the world. From the stocking-lined mask fitted over her face like a cat burglar, her gray-green eyes observed the traffic around the sunny atrium on the hospital’s seventh floor. She was newly grateful for her sight, for the fact that her eyes opened easily. She had been afraid for a time that her eyelids had melted, just as she knew the flesh over her cheekbones and chin had–we are, she observed wryly, clay after all.


Continue reading “Bright Angels & Familiars: “Windows on the Sea” by Linda Sillitoe”

Mormon Poetry Now!: Linda Sillitoe, “Encounter”

Series intro and Mormon Poets Roll

Note: I thought a post to honor Linda Sillitoe and her encounter with Mormon letters would provide a suitable launching point for the series. She passed away April 7, 2010. Exponent II has published a tribute for Sillitoe in their latest issue.

One of the most striking poems I’ve read recently is Linda Sillitoe’s unrhymed sonnet “Encounter” (link to PDF from Dialogue 35.1 []), which takes as its lyric province the intergenerational relationship between people, places, and possessions. The poet, born of goodly parents (at least it seems so from the pleasant cache of memories stirred in this sensory experience), begins by formally and lyrically binding this relational triad and expanding and deepening the connections between them from there. Continue reading “Mormon Poetry Now!: Linda Sillitoe, “Encounter””