Praise for Second Bloom:
"Her newest poetry collection, which includes the gem “Psalm 137 for Noah,” is as smart, eloquent, and honest as her reviews. Above all, these poems are colorful. A pink rose bloom sits next to a castle. Green are the ferns and the emerald-colored dress that the poet wears one evening. The hydrangeas, the poet’s slippers, and the sky appear in various shades of blue. Red shows up as blood and tumors, strawberries and communion wine. But the most vivid color in these poems is purple. It’s the color of the syrup dripping from a grape popsicle after three days of fasting in a hospital bed. It’s the color of the wanton cry as spring grape vines curl around one another like the legs of lovers. "
--Elizabeth Palmer, The Christian Century
"At the heart of these new poems is a longstanding determination to make the most of time, and of mind, and of the immediate surround--whether that immediacy is comprised of grief, or of joy, or of perplexity. The deep, bass note here is attend! The developing hunger is holiness."
--Scott Cairns, author of Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems
"'To bloom is so foolish/that it must be wisdom.' Anya Silver writes, in poem after stunning poem, about living with cancer and still finding words to praise this beautiful and ephemeral world. These are the bravest poems you'll ever read, by a woman at the top of her artistic game. Even though she knows that winter is coming, Silver's words put out fresh green shoots. These poems will crack open your heart."
--Barbara Crooker, author of Les Fauves and Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems
"In lines saturated with colors and delicious with sneaky rhymes, in elegies and ekphrastic poems, in liturgical poems and hymns to ordinary things in ordinary time--a slinky green dress, a son's light-brown hair, a grape popsicle on the tongue after days of hospital fasting--Silver gives us life's pain met time and again with pleasure and feast, rather than with despair. Although 'the roses in second bloom/know what's coming,' they bloom nonetheless. To read this book is to witness Silver seeking, and finding, holiness around every corner."
--Melissa Range, author of Scriptorium and Horse and Rider
"Underneath the bees and birds and blossoms of this fine collection, Anya Krugovoy reveals the stings and flights of joy--the transience of this our life and the tender hope of a life to come. Her eye and ear find beauty in the darkest places. To read her is to know firsthand the meaning of the word redemption."
--Paul Willis, author of Say This Prayer Into the Past
So yes, there is illness, but there is poetry, art, and fun. Silver pays homage to various paintings, to pleasures like dancing, even to the hula hoop. “Love the ridiculous,” she writes (“How to Hula Hoop,” line 1). And about those flowers briefly abloom: “happiness / is a decision each of us has made, / without even discussing it” (“Late Summer,” lines 12-14). The roses are in second bloom; they “know what’s coming” (line 9). Truly, what better decision can anyone make than to bloom and be happy? Silver ends the final poem of her collection with the lines, “To bloom is so foolish / that it must be wisdom.” (“August,” lines11-12); so she blooms in these poems, a book full of her sagacity and talent.
--Susana Case, Southern Literary Review
"And while faith does not serve as an escape from the speaker’s agonies, the rhythms of faith—psalms, liturgical seasons—do create a space to work through them. Are we surprised if that space turns out to be rife with wild color?"
--Jen Hist-White, Image Journal
Praise for From Nothing:
“Anya Krugovoy Silver continues, in her third poetry collection, to develop her ongoing and—one discovers—efficacious fascinations with illness and loss and with the strenuous, deliberate act of recovery. . . . Silver grapples with an array of difficult human experiences to bring back into view the absolute interconnectivity of persons, and she presents the compelling proposition that what is yet to be done is our bravely accepting the cost of bearing one another’s afflictions, of becoming one. May it be blessed.”— Scott Cairns, Christian Century
"Her language is exact and spare, the verses tight and expressive as when she writes, “Not easily have I obeyed the commandments / for I love that keen, painful twisting of desire / the tight bud of it straining against its husk” (“St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Lent”). From Nothing illuminates the need for beauty, for the hope of spring when considering the grief of living."--Colleen Dawson, Image
"Whether taking root in story, art, history, memory, or what lies beneath the skin, From Nothing is a deft exploration of the body and lived experience--in its flourishing and in its fragility." -- Grist Journal
“If sound is the basis of music, and music is the basis of poetry, there aren’t many musicians who can play better than Anya Silver. . . . Put simply, Anya Silver’s poetry isn’t just smart and well-crafted; it’s also fun."-- Atticus Review
"Whether remembering the sound of whispered secrets on a family vacation or celebrating a favorable PET scan, in Silver’s keen observations of seemingly mundane moments we glimpse the divine. As she addresses profound questions about how to make meaning out of suffering, Silver’s poems attest to the power of art to help us face difficult realities in an often painful world.”-- Center for Courage and Renewal, "Favorite Courageous Books of 2016"
"Most of all, there's an almost transcendent sense of peace in the overall tone of the book. It's not a passive peace. There's no 'letting-go-and-letting God' sentimentality here. The peace comes from being both participant and witness to darkness, illness and death. It comes from seeing both the beautiful and the terrible possibilities of transformation, from being forced by circumstances to attune oneself to beauty and grace--and also to watch unflinchingly as those things fall away or return permanently changed in the face of the inevitable. It's a dark beauty, and an appealing, haunting one. . . . these poems are technical powerhouses that snatch up language and use it sometimes like a whip and sometimes like a soothing touch. Her words are languid and lovely when they need to be, and brusque and blunt when the subject matter requires." -- Traci Burns, Macon Magazine
"In her stunning new collection, From Nothing, Anya Krugovoy Silver remembers the dead, mourns the dying, and declares her fierce love for our lush, troubled world. These poems ask hard questions about suffering, just as they show us fairy tales, gardens of roses, a marriage bed, a beloved son. As Silver writes in the brilliant title poem, 'Again and again, from nothingness I'm born./Each death I witness makes me more my own.' There is deep grief in the world of this book, and yet there is so much beauty. This is an absolutely gorgeous book."--Nicole Cooley, author of Breach and The Afflicted Girls
"I'm ransacked by the pain and love and urgency of this book. These aren't pretty, redemptive poems about cancer and loss; they're gritty oracles that divine joint from marrow as we stand before coffins, stillbirths, and mastectomy scars. This is one of few poets just brazen enough to be human. In short, Anya Krugovoy Silver doesn't screw around."--Tania Runyan, author of Second Sky and A Thousand Vessels
"Anya Krugovoy Silver's new collection, From Nothing, is a superb demonstration of her qualities as a poet, many of which she shares with Claudia Emerson: tact and concision, somber music and level diction in the face of life's imponderables. There are numerous metaphoric moments of fairy-tale grace and gravity, ekphrastic poems that Silver delivers with surgical precious and balances like no other poet. All of us are born as patients but only a few have the gift of healing in a dark wood."--Michael Salcman, neurosurgeon, author of A Prague Spring, Before & After and editor of Poetry in Medicine
Praise for I Watched You Disappear:
"Rarely have I read a poet whose work speaks as honestly and emphatically from the raw necessities of the heart. Anya Silver is a poet searching for answers, a poet trying desperately to connect with the Ultimate. It sounds a little trite to say that these poems are courageous, and yet I can think of no better word. Part of the magic of poetry is finding beauty and meaning in the brutal landscape of our lives, and I am simply astonished by the strength and beauty of this work. These are poems that had to be written, poems where faith confronts silence and remains steadfast in its search for meaning. Anya Silver is one of the most compelling voices to enter American poetry in my memory."--David Bottoms
"Possessing the profound powers of a voice 'on the short spur to death,' Anya Krugovoy Silver writes brilliantly from an 'insane instinct for life.' Her vision takes in history and religion, fairy tales and art, as well as singular experience. These poems will help the dying--but which I mean all of us--to face the end with honesty and praise."--Julia Spicher Kasdorf
"The final pages of I Watched You Disappear are a testament to the Beauty Keats said wound save us, Beauty which reverberates and stuns like a struck bell. Leading up those pages is his Truth on a grand scale. Cancer, that razor, that dybbuk on the inside eating its way out, from a writer who stands on the cliff edge of it. But in answering its own question--'can fingers knot the flying threads of blood?'--with a burst of breathtaking poems at the end, the book achieves a Beauty that can be earned only by living on the edge of Truth and writing it."--Alice Friman
"Anya Silver's new collection of poems gathers together passion, anger, fear, and as if by some miracle, the ineffable presence of the divine. These poems are some of the loveliest I've read since her first book, The Ninety-Third Name of God."--Kathryn Stripling Byer
In I Watched You Disappear, we move with Anya Krugovoy Silver as she touches and wonders the world in her poems: the pain of cancer, heft of ripe fruit, beauty of her son’s legs, the “heart / like a shattered peony, / musky petal after petal / unpeeling, pealing.” The immediacy of the moment, its sharp presence, is heavy with grief. But this heaviness exists beside a wise joy. . . . .” You will be immeasurably better and stronger for having faced the dark and held the joy in Silver’s poems. – Image Magazine
Praise for The Ninety-Third Name of God:
"Gorgeously lush, Anya Silver's poetry is a confrontation with mortality and in particular the survivor's felt loss of womanliness that can accompany breast cancer. God visits the poet, she says, only when she has 'lain back for the burning of my skin, covered my face and cursed.' This is an extraordinarily beautiful book, passionate and intense; it reveres life in all its forms and language in all its grace. Her poems breathe the light of God's name."--Kelly Cherry
"These poems reveal the word made flesh--incarnate experiences cracked open to light, celebrations of the meaning found in suffering and in healing, in death and in birth. From the bald sisterhood of women with breast cancer to the cleaving loss of an unborn child, from the jubilant 'Canticle of the Washing Machine' to a love song based on the metaphor of French toast, these are poems about the private and the public worlds of women, worlds infused with the luminosity and inscrutable nature of God."-- Jill Baumgaertner
"Illness and healing suffuse Anya Krugovoy Silver’s first collection. “Like a baker, swaddling the juice and heft of apples in pastry,/I want my mouth to cradle the delicious name of God,” she admits in the poem “In the Name of God.” And in “Blessing for My Left Breast” Ms. Silver, who had a mastectomy, writes, “Taken in your beauty, let the last hands/that hold you/be gentle.” Like most poems in this bittersweet book, “Blessing” verges on prayer."--Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"There are poems here that are delicate and sweet, about growing beyond the tell-tale blush suffered as a shy fourteen-year-old, and about fireflies 'brighter than snowflakes' rising into the dusk. But other poems roil with pain, finishing with a faith that has been tried by fire. Many of these focus on Silver’s battle with inflammatory breast cancer, and the memory of women she has met (and some she has lost) during her treatment. . . . Though it contains a deep and honest catalogue of hurts, The Ninety-Third Name of God is ultimately a paean for life’s blessings, mundane and extraordinary."--Image
"In The Ninety-Third Name of God, Silver takes the breadth of her life experience — the raw suffering of her cancer diagnosis and treatment, her turn to religion, her fears about death, her gratitude for her life — and transforms it into thoughtful, intelligent poems. She writes with particular fierceness about painful subjects, yet her language is painstakingly delicate and careful. The poems embrace a complex range of emotions and tones: generosity and harshness, honesty and rage, wistfulness and wit. Especially compelling is the way she treats her changing body with unflinching candor, and yet she maintains her dignity, always insisting on the body’s fragile beauty. "--Lauren Watel, ArtsAtlanta
Photograph of LaGrange, Georgia