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Poetry. In "Nectar and Small," Jacqueline Balderrama offers entry into the small nature of backyards and storm drains, bird encounters and beach toys swept away. She examines the quiet presence of shared inhabitants, presence too of encroaching waste. These free verse poems celebrate the discovery of nature's detail and interconnectedness. This is especially true for the series of bird poems woven throughout the collection where species glimpsed in the grasslands of Centennial Valley, Montana defy boundary with disappearance or vast migration. In tandem, "Nectar and Small" addresses moral dilemmas by confronting individual consumerism and admitting domestic struggles to reduce. Balderrama points to our capacity to appreciate the world around us instead of fear or dismissal, a careful attentiveness toward what so many, human and nonhuman, name home.
"Jacqueline Balderrama has done just what the founders of the Taft-Nicholson Center were hoping for when they created a place where writers and artists and scholars and students might experience wilderness. The lovely poems in 'Nectar and Small' abound with the wonders to be found there — hummingbirds, sapsuckers, hawks, sandhill cranes. I'm particularly intrigued by the questions they inspire her to ask: 'Will we ever be allowed this kind of being?'"
"Jacqueline Balderrama's poems bore down into the earth to show the great human erasure of our earth, our birds, our water, our trees. But from that deep and dark well, she draws forth the thing humans are best at: making beauty from absence. Like a heron's wing furled and then unfurled, Balderrama's poems reveal the stark beauty of this world as it disappears and then, through this grace-giving language, appears again."