Catchments is a very powerful and emotionally vulnerable collection that moves the reader through a collection of passages in a brief but deep arc, like the curve of a bow, or more aptly that of a knife, suddenly razor sharp and drawn through the reader, such as in the poem “Island,” with ease, “When you descended from my body,/ there was a moment your head crested/ between contractions/ and the doctor said/ Wait./ A moment when the room turned away/ from me/ and I was set adrift from the continent of family.” Many of these poems are heart-sundering masterpieces, antidotes against the snap-shots taken and developed in the darkest rooms and solutions, by our own hands . . . so many small words within each poem connect to, and enhance, other poems . . . akin to the coupling rod or side rod connecting the driving wheels of a locomotive. The coupling rods, with their minimal rotations and more notable back and forth movement, transfer the power of drive to all wheels.
—David Anthony Martin, author of Span, Deepening the Map, Bijoux, and The Ground Nest.
A catchment is something that captures water, a measure of that water, and the act of catching it.
E. A. Lechleitner’s Catchments draws on all three meanings. These poems gather and hold the water of life—the rivers, lakes, and oceans of it—and the tsunamis. The rain, the flooding, the sinking and the floating. In these poems, deep losses are balanced by love, intense longing leavened by insight, the mortal and ephemeral known by what lasts, for a while—all in precise and often surprising images and fresh, unexpected language. In “Your Voice,” for example, the speaker as a child aches to hear “at least the timbre of your voice/ when you tucked me into bed/ and announced my name to sleep.” In “Falconry,” the sustained imagery illuminates the mystery that is family. The poem opens with “My mother would be a falconer,” and ends with these lines: “But always I return to her gloved hand/ because when I would be a falconer,/ she will come for me.” Reading Lechleitner’s Catchments ignites our deepest level of attention to the world, as only poetry can.
—Veronica Patterson, author of Sudden White Fan, Thresh & Hold and Swan What Shores?
E. A. Lechleitner’s poetry walks through the seasons of grief accompanied by the seasons of nature, all the while trying to make sense of loss beyond comprehension. Her poems look for answers to unknowable questions and she admonishes, we keep asking the wrong questions. She celebrates commonplace things, like riding bicycles and fly fishing, which become beautiful emblems of life. In this elegiac tribute, she tells us, “we are all alone and surrounded by water/without so much as a palm tree.” By dealing with absence, and moving through grief, she paints a beautiful portrait.
—Kathleen Willard, author of Cirque & Sky and This Incendiary Season
E. A. (Beth) Lechleitner has lived in Northern Colorado her entire life but has made a habit of traveling far from home whenever she can, even if only in her mind. She recalls writing her first poem as a pre-teen while riding past the Tetons in a white Chevrolet station wagon on a road trip with her mother, father and brother. Her career has been split between high tech marketing and education. She currently teaches writing at Colorado State University and owns Second Letter, an editing, writing and creativity coaching business. She irregularly muses about writing and promotes local writing events on her blog: Second Letter Writing Salon. She has two children and four grandchildren. Some of her poems have been included in the collection Begin With Leaves and the Pathways Hospice publication Canceling the Milk.