“We are reading our way out of sadness.” So writes Linda Rogers in her fine poem, “Paper Stairs.” And as our relationship with home and family is a complicated and varied one, Ursula Pflug’s Hidden Brook Press anthology They Have to Take You In, provides the reader with ample evidence of the profound complexity of blood and clan.
The Welsh word “hiraeth” translates roughly as “longing for home,” and yet there are those for whom home is not so positive and the fine line between being homesick and being sick of home is just as often not so fine. “I remember being put out on the street/ at the age of nine or ten/ by my father for reasons that still remain a mystery/ even to me,” writes Darryl Salach in his poem, “On the Road”.
None of the mushy sentimentality, false memory and treacly greeting-card nostalgia for these writers-no, these writers are interested in the healing truths we tell when writers are writing their way out of sadness for the sake of love. Herein they tell the entire grumble of the story, sometimes in memoir, sometimes in fiction, sometimes in a poem, but never in the candy-coated dithyrambs that populate the pages of those ‘chicken soup for the soul’ books.
This anthology is filled with serious truth, the kind that goes deep and heals from well within the wound.
– John B. Lee Poet Laureate of Brantford, Poet Laureate of Norfolk County.
“The characters in these stories are Othered from a sense of home through poverty, homelessness, alcoholism, dementia, the need to escape from abusive homes, as well as a sense of wanderlust. The authors explore the possibility that sometimes you have to leave the place where you have settled in order to find home… and sometimes you can’t ever find home, can’t discover a place of belonging. The multiplicity of these narratives provides a space for exploring home as a place of security… and simultaneously suggests that, for some, ESCAPE from home is a place of safety.”
– Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada