Helen Losse communicates joy and love through her poetry. She lets us into her soul. She reveals her spiritual underpinning and creates verses that sing and shine in their glory.
Helen served as poetry editor for the Dead Mule for such a long time, I don’t remember when she wasn’t supporting me, helping me through each issue. Her gentle treatment of poets encouraged so many writers. She showed them their writing was noteworthy and meaningful. While editor here, she communicated with southern poet laureates and secured original verse from them. Joseph Bathanti, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Cathy Bowers, Susan Brannan Walker, and Claudia Emerson… Helen’s strong footprint will always be a Dead Mule backstory.
Helen’s most recent chapbook (she’s published nine poetry collections before this one) A Flower More Enduring published Sept. 21, 2021 by Main Street Rag is to be her last, she told me recently. All the more reason to grab a copy and cherish it. Before I go any further, I should tell you that Helen has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, anthologized in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol VII: North Carolina, and twice nominated for a Best of the Net award. She is the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature’s Poet Emeritus.
Moving on to A Flower More Enduring. Let’s jump right into it with one of my favorites:
I stand in the shaded bathroom
with its high useless mirrors
into which I cannot see,
asking, “Are we rich?”
Daddy holds me on his knee
but would ever tell me (or
any innocent child)
he doesn’t know how
he’ll pay the thirty-seven fifty
house payment due on Friday.
Instead, he explains,
“We are rich in love.“
How poignant, how beautiful, is that? The brevity belies the deep meaning, the kindness of her father, we can hear the caring in his voice.
Helen’s spirituality shines through her every verse. The strength of her convictions and the peace she finds through prayer and devotion are ever evident in her writing. These are certainly trying times, we need to find comfort in words as well as actions. Consider this gentle slim volume as a touchstone. A pathway through dark times.
Dandelion on green lawn
A girl bends low, picks a flower
to give to her mother.
The child loves the flower,
a weed adults tend to favor less.
The child blows seeds from the puffball,
white feathery globe of potential.
The seed is the heart of the flower:
tiny perhaps but profoundly fecund.
Each seed floats with the wind, grows
where it lands, blossoms in sunshine and rain.
Let our seeds of hope spread. Helen’s poetry is filled with redemption and reminds us to move forward, to keep going. Urges us to carry on. Spreads seeds of love. You owe it to yourself to read this lovely volume of poetry.