I am neither a reader of poetry nor a sayer of prayers. And yet, I would readily hang Derrick Meads’s “During #47” by my bedside, in place of both. For the past four or five years, Meads has been crafting small blocks of rich, glossy cherry wood, coating their top surface with a matte white finish, then carving the text of tiny blessings into their every square inch. The words are dense, terse, and unexpected, secular and ripe with organic metaphors. The incisions are angular, taut, and compact, half written, half inscribed. The effect is intense and profound, as if the lines of William Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson had been reduced to their essence, rewritten into mantras, and tattooed across the body of a person or the trunk of a tree. Poems and prayers both involve introspection and practice, and the most generous of them eschew judgment in favor of benevolence. Meads combines all that here, and lends it to the reader with grace.
—Lori Waxman 3/23/17 12:44 PM