Taking Time Explores the Sources of Hard-Won Happiness
It may be true, as Tolstoy’s narrator says at the beginning of Anna Karenina that "all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." It may be true, also, that the causes of unhappiness are the stuff of literature; the desire to probe what doesn’t work fascinates both readers and writers alike and compels us to turn the page.
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That’s not to say, though, that happiness is a bore. However alike it might be among those rare families who genuinely experience it, is hard won after long struggles. Indeed, happiness is not a gift, and it is not a simple experience, according to Woodbury poet laureate Sandy Carlson, who has recently published a new collection of sonnets, Taking Time, that explores both the struggle for happiness and the nature of victory
“In my new collection, Tolstoy’s insight intersects with my mother’s. She often noted that ‘people think you’re simple if you don’t walk around like you’ve got the weight of the world on your back.’ She was a woman who chose joy in the face of the challenges life presented her; in her joy was her wisdom, and these poems explore the joy I have learned the way she taught it,” Carlson says. She chose the sonnet form, she says, because it is the form for intimate communication, for personal expressions of love to the beloved.
This collection of poems explores the complex interplay of the individual with place and time in the discovery of happiness, which Carlson describes as “the genuine peace that comes with understanding.” She says “happiness requires the investment of time in a specific place, which might be physical, familial, or temporal–or all three at once.”