A Small Press Review Pick of the Month 01/2008 --"Resonates with timeless wisdom."
Purgatory Chasm is a collection of 30 poems inspired by the Massachusetts State Reservation, where published poet and creative writing teacher Susan Edwards Richmond often hikes. Blending knowledge of geology and history with the voices of hikers past and present, and the spirits of those who have lost their lives amid the rocks, Purgatory Chasm resonates with timeless wisdom. An immersive experience that hikers and poetry lovers should not miss. "Judgment": Even God deems lust the least of sins, / although He makes its supplicants dance / through pillars of fire. // "As they did in life," He shrugs. / "It's just illusion." He is / fond of them, though. // They touch His heart, so / occasionally, // He lets one burn.” Midwest Book Review
...the earth is transfigured, engendered, becomes a place of longing, misgiving, the very image of human desire and loss....Richmond ‘ songs of self-revelation and self-forgetting, the dance of revelation that in reading nature we are reading ourselves, makes the journey of Purgatory Chasm one worth taking. --The Worcester Review
Much of Richmond’s verse is based in nature, yet she uses to wonderful effect the voices of hikers and three of those who lost their lives in the chasm. --Worcester Telegram and Gazette
The Chasm Spring
Sun doesn’t melt the stone,
but oh how it tries, when spring
beats down on the snow-clad crags,
where all winter ice remained
impregnable. Yielding now,
the frozen coat unbuckles, slips
from shoulders of rock.
Each slick skin
drips from a clear wound
to start the flow again. Icicles
loose layer after
layer. Bared at last,
there is no such consolation for stone,
no diminishment in the heat.
it weeps. It longs to crack, to open