So I Never Forget the Way by Colette Volkema DeNooyer
In poems composed with both personal and artistic integrity, Colette Volkema DeNooyer has created a world we rarely find on the page, the world of an intelligent, sensitive, acutely aware woman walking the shoreline of her three score and ten. Indirectly she reveals how the American culture lures us away from the great mysteries that surround us and for which we, being distracted from all sides, struggle to dwell in what matters most. She shows great courage in creating for us the life of a woman who knows that wonder is ever-present, and that it takes deep spiritual effort to sustain an intimate relationship with astonishment both human and within the natural world. This is a collection of affirmation, awakening, and comfort, a remarkably brave accomplishment.
– Jack Ridl, is the author of Broken Symmetry, Losing Season, Practicing to Walk Like a Heron,
and recipient of the poetry Gold Medal for collection of the year from ForeWord Reviews.
Henri Nouwen writes that “Being is more important than doing,” that “what makes us humanis not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think but our ability to love.” Being with Colette Volkema De Nooyer’s poems always teaches me that essential truth. This latest collection reminds us again to never forget that “opening a door in the only/heart you have” is how we come to truly know and love this world. Here she probes the deep but ephemeral joy of “giving rapt attention to being alive.” From the delight of grand kids to the haunting loss of parents, from breeching whales to a perching pelican, from distant oceans to her dear Lake Michigan—in poem after poem this wise poet asks us to pay attention, to “bear witness/and, bow often” to the life and lives around and within us, leaving readers, too, “slack with wonder” and bowing in spirit for the great gift of being alive. So, reader, savor these poems, and be encouraged in this dark time. For, like love, Colette’s poems “shine/brightest in the dark.”
– Mark Hiskes, author of Standing with Alyosha
Colette Volkema DeNooyer began her career as a teacher. Later, curiosity led her to seminary with questions about traditional answers where she earned a Masters of Divinity. Ordained in the United Church of Christ she became a minister, focusing on children’s religious education. In that capacity she began writing curriculum for a Montessori based education program she called Worship Center, inviting children ages 3-10 to wonder and value the right questions rather than one right answer. Approaching fifty she retired from ministry, choosing to pursue her love of writing. In 2002–having trained with Pat Schneider, creator of the writing method used by Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) which she founded–Colette began Come Write with Me leading prose writing groups and writing retreats for almost a decade. Though her first love had been prose, more and more often she found herself turning to poetry, agreeing with writer May Sarton, “I write prose to know what I think. I write poetry, to know what I feel.” Colette’s poems have appeared in Dunes Review, the Literary Life Chapbook, Sojourners magazine, Waterlines, an anthology collaboration of five poets and in her previous collection This Time…. In this collection she once again gathers memories and life moments, offering them through these poems, so others too – might never forget the way.