Synkroniciti is honored to welcome poet Sharon Kennedy-Nolle from New York with a deeply vulnerable cycle of five poems about her son’s death. “Parenting Patrick” delves into a mother’s excruciating grief and guilt at watching her son succumb to addiction. She cannot help but remember his premature birth and wonder if his youthful death could have been avoided if she had been more ready or if hospital practices had been different. “I was slow, too,/ to understand that wanting a child is an accretive process/ like the shell’s swell of barnacle/ while in hospital, became all bandaged touch.” This is followed by “Control Z,” an acknowledgement of his autonomy and choice by suicide. “Nor can you take out from your pockets, the rocks./ Back up the soggy leafed trail,/ peel off the seven layers/ and return to the warmed bed…” “It’s You Down There, Not Your Father” references the outside world through social media, where friends leave messages and his visage remains, “staring hard, hard/ at anyone who lies.” We go back in time with “Play House,” as the author remembers her childhood, playing with Barbies and the crucifixes of dead relatives, and appeals to her mother or her son for a sign from beyond the grave. “Soft Touch” relates a moment at her son’s grave as the world continues to scroll by. “I just lie down, by your side/ as the clouds crawl by the rising cratered moon,/ eating an icicle off the serp top…” The raw vulnerability of Sharon’s voice, with glimmers of humor and gratefulness enriching and deepening the impact of grief, is shattering. The imagery is by turns delicate and brutal, from snowflakes to beer-breath, and her alliterative music both comforts and hurts. It was Sharon’s poetry, received in an earlier submission period, which dictated the “Broken” theme. The last two poems were finalists in our “Broken” poetry contest.
Experience Sharon’s moving poetry in our September 1st issue, “Broken,” available for purchase here: https://synkroniciti.com/the-magazine/purchase-individual-issues/.
A graduate of Vassar College, Sharon Kennedy-Nolle received an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop as well as a doctoral degree in nineteenth-century American literature from the University of Iowa. She also holds MAs from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and New York University.
In addition to scholarly publications, her poetry has appeared in many journals. Chosen as the 2020 Chapbook Editor’s Pick by Variant Literature Press, Black Wick: Selected Elegies was published in 2021. Kennedy-Nolle was winner of the New Ohio Review’s 2021 creative writing contest. Her manuscript Not Waving was a semi-finalist for 2022 the Brick Road Poetry Contest and the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Prize.
Recently appointed the Poet Laureate of Sullivan County for 2022-2024, she lives and teaches in New York.