Reece's central figure in The Road to Emmaus is a middle-aged man who becomes a priest in the Episcopal Church; these poems follow him to New York City, to Honduras, to a hospital where he works as a chaplain, to a prison, to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. With language of simple, lyrical beauty that gradually accrues weight and momentum, Reece spins compelling dramas out of small moments: the speaker, living among a group of orphans, wondering "Was it true, what they said, that a priest is a house lit up?"; two men finding each other at a Coming Out Group; a man trying to become visible after a life that had depended on not being seen.
A yearning for connection, an ache of loneliness, and the instant of love disappearing before our eyes haunt this long-awaited second collection from Spencer Reece.
In Little Theatres, Ern Moure's avatar Elisa Sampedrn first spoke about theatre and the need for smallness in order to articulate what is huge. Sampedrn, who reappears in the translation mystery O Resplandor as the translator of a language she does not speak, vanishes later in The Unmemntioable when the split in human identity that results from war and displacement is acknowledged. Now, in Kapusta, the character E. is alone, in the smallest of spaces - the bench behind her grandmother's woodstove in Alberta. Here, E. struggles to face the largest of historical and imagined spaces - the Holocaust in Western Ukraine, and to understand her mother's silence at the sadness of her forebears, her "salt-shaker love."