Little Miracles is a collection of poems that are, indeed, little miracles. In this book, in these small chronicles of the life of a poet, we encounter a voice who searches through the experiences of her life in order to find and assert her own identity. From childhood to confident womanhood, Little Miracles follows the narrative of a poet who invents herself through the power of her own story, and whose story reinforces and sustains the ways she becomes a confident and emotionally assertive individual. Here is a book that guides the reader through the process of self-becoming.
-Bruce Meyer, author of Grace of Falling Stars
Poem by poem, Victoria Butler variously revisits, resists, and reimagines the figures and frames of identity, relationship, and place, crafting with precision, intimacy, and insight. Little Miracles is a fearless, haunting, and vibrant debut.
Little Miracles is an ode to how we survive, how we "breathe in the way it feels to exist only for ourselves." Mysteries like death and intimacy are broken up into little pieces, dusty under the bed or "hiding beneath the lilac bushes." Victoria Butler recognizes the power at our fingertips, under our fingernails. “When I take her hand she is cold, but no longer alone.” To love deeply is, eventually, to be lonely but to pray is to find the grace of old churches and Joni Mitchell. What’s left behind? What’s the difference? In Butler’s unspooling, questions are an unresolved melody. There’s always more to feel, to touch, to see. In this collection of miracles, she gathers pink skies, "more ink," promises changing colour in the sun. "Something is always burning," yes. But, in Butler's hands, something is also, always, warm.
Victoria Butler’s debut collection of poetry, Little Miracles, is an intimate examination of gentleness. Butler brilliantly captures the complexities of an identity deeply enmeshed in its unalterable past and uncertain future. This book whispers, reminds you of a history mostly forgotten or ignored-that of sand and water and woman. Butler is a master of situating the reader in a time and place, creating landscapes through fog and music just to reassemble whole cities with a murmur. This book is a testament to the quiet forces that keep people bound to each other.
Little Miracles is an ode to the unacknowledged, the thoughts that linger unaddressed in our collective minds. Victoria Butler runs us through the gamut of human emotion, but not without her down-to-earth and lived-in tonality. In this collection, Butler negotiates the difficult space between intention and outcome: “I see someone longing to be good, wondering/ Why there is hurt where she has planted love,” and the inevitable disillusionment of growing up: “my mother insisted god’s glorious creations could never be/ less than extraordinary.” Little Miracles makes space for the overwhelming weight of memory and how nostalgia colours the present — “I will always be the place that I came from.” At once geographically precise and remarkably open-ended, Butler’s hopeful musings will make you want to move back to your home town, tie up loose ends, and cultivate an unshakeable sense of belonging.
Victoria Butler’s Little Miracles is quite a big miracle, with a smaller yet great miracle on each page. I open and find, “It’s almost winter here. I’ve got a switchblade under my bed. I thought I heard fireworks last night and thought of you. Turns out they were gunshots.” That realism about our world and our loves, that poise between fireworks and gunfire, hope and winter! But then, a few pages farther on: “You and I used to live together under the rain, / hiding beneath the lilac bushes…” Such pure song in that—its nostalgia inscribed in the fall of its syllables, like rain on lilac leaves above two children. And Little Miracles is not just these wonderful moments. There’s also the wholeness of this collection, which stretches from the Simcoe country to Canada and the world, from private (but universally significant) incident to universal meditation, from personal sorrow or ecstasy to a broad survey of modern life, especially as it creates and balks the quest for love. I need to apply to Butler the words she devotes to another poet: “Your voice is a pledge of allegiance, / a meditation, / a hymn, / a prayer, / on how it feels to be human / to breathe in spite of sorrow…”