A mother writes poems about having a son with autism. The book addresses initial feelings of loss, hope and grief associated with having a child with special needs. It speaks to the many seasons of love in the life of a family learning to cope. This is Connie’s very first book about learning to cope with her son’s autism.
Connie's Previous Books
Written in 2005, this poetry book is a collection of Connie’s poems from the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s. This was published by Small Poetry Press.
As Poet Laureate, she wrote more than 25 poems for civic and community events and one of them was memorialized in a plaque in the downtown area. The poems were published by the city of Livermore and appear in this volume. There are also photos that represent each event.
And When the Sun Drops is Connie’s Chapbook, released from Finishing Line Press in July 2012
This book is comprised of all poems about her son with profound autism.
Connie Post’s chapbook, And When the Sun Drops, (Finishing Line, 2012) is both straightforward and moving, covering 20 years in the life of her autistic son, who is also unable to speak. The language she uses to express life together with him and his sister is disarmingly simple, coupled with brilliantturns of phrases (“since he can’t speak… how do you know what he wants?” … “how do I know when it’s dawn…”) Her descriptive ability involves the reader in the hard-hitting reality of disability at the same time it envelopes one in their family. “You are not merely metaphor/ trying to take shape in a poem….”) She blesses the group home caretaker who “can make an origami out of/ any shape of loss/ and make it somehow/ feel like gratitude.” The word love is used in a common way, only once that I noticed, to imply its larger meaning: “I know how much you love/ the chicken I will make// you and I both know/ how it must simmer/ for the longest time.” This book was the Editor’s Choice Award for the Fall 2012 issue of the Aurorean. (Peggy Sperber Flanders, Reviewer, Comstock Review website, 9/2012)
From UptheStaircase , Editor, April Michelle Bratten
And When the Sun Drops
by Connie Post
Paper, saddle-stitch: 28 pages
Publisher: Finishing Line Press (2012)
Available at Finishing Line Press
Up the Staircase Quarterly Issue # 19
Connie Post’s latest chapbook, And When the Sun Drops, is a book that came to me highly praised. It is a book that people are talking about. In fact, it was just selected as the Editor’s Choice Chapbook over at The Aurorean. Acknowledgements aside, I had no doubt when I picked up this book that I was in good hands. Connie Post, a favorite of ours here at Up the Staircase Quarterly, has a fantastic way of enveloping her audience. For the duration of a Post poem, you are completely sucked into the world she has created for you. Few poets have this gift on such a consistent basis.
After reading the first poem in the book, I understood why And When the Sun Drops has gotten such high praise. It is brave. It is an accomplishment. Intimate and deeply personal, And When the Sun Drops is a collection of poetry that reflects on Post’s experiences on being a mother with an autistic son. As a writer, I was continually impressed with Post’s ability to handle her subject matter with such beautifully constructed honesty, and never once falling into the land of over-sentimentality. She is a true expert at her craft. As a reader, I felt like a friend sitting at Post’s elbow, listening eagerly and with an open heart to her story.
One of my favorite poems from the collection was “Your Sister Ready for College.” This poem showed that the bond of family cannot be broken, even when a member of that family is leaving, even when it might seem as if you are being left behind. The sister’s leaving is palpable, and it brings anxiety to those who must watch her go:
you roam the house
as if you understand
the rules of departure
as if you know
why the boxes
are placed so carefully
around the stairwell
However, we find out that the sister has just as much anxiety about leaving her family behind, about leaving her brother behind:
I tell her not to worry
that you will “be okay”
when you wake
in the middle of the night
I tell her it will take me longer
to climb the stairs
but I will take you back
to your unfolded bed
before the morning breaks us
This poem is just one example of Post’s wonderful work in this collection. I highly recommend And When the Sun Drops to those who have an autistic individual in their life, but I also recommend the collection to those who just appreciate damn good poetry.
Good poems often remind us of what we already know and help us look at the essential points of our lives more deeply. Because they often look at things with brutal honesty, good poems also have the ability to scare us. Such is the case with Connie Post’s new book, Trip Wires, in which the best poems are also the most terrifying in their focus on loss and absence. The poem “It Won’t Be Long,” for example, makes clear why no matter how well prepared we think we are for loss, it is never as we expect.