“Why have I come here/at low tide, mudlarking/for bits of bottle and bone?” asks January O’Neil. Her fine, fine book, Rewilding is her brilliant, honest, and unflinching answer. Walk with her, reader, to the river bed, and catch your breath as she sifts gold from the debris.
January Gill O’Neil is a poet you can trust. With every book, every poem, every stanza, she writes with such grace, insight, and clarity, delineating the music, moments, and moods of her life as a mother, a divorcee, a single woman that one feels, while reading, uplifted, inspired, and even rewilded. She is a poet who touches the heart within the heart, the muse within the music, the magic within the ordinary. She is, in short, what most poets can only aspire to be—beautiful and true.
In poems attuned to the ache and beauty of contemporary life, January Gill O’Neil cuts to the heart of love and loss, motherhood, and being black in a country where “we wear our history in our darkness, in our patience.” The title, Rewilding, is perfect for this book, driven by a speaker who, in wanting to live an authentic life, says, “Unrepentant, down on our knees, / we rise and rise and rise.”