About the book
"Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry" was Muriel Rukeyser’s recipe for poets. Poets are like singers; their instrument is themselves. Judy Neri's Always the Trains is a meditation in four parts on those parts of life's kaleidoscope which have presented themselves to her, which she has breathed in. The poems in "The Inner Café" section range from meditations on the joy of being alive, to baseball, taxis, motivation and ethical dilemmas, typical preoccupations of our “inner café.” In "The Greenhouse" section, she describes nature as a presence with which our lives are intertwined, which responds to us and is lovely, but which also rebels against our attempts to enslave it. In "Out Of Airy Nothing, Worlds," her poems deal with the ways artists create, particularly in writing and in music. In "Inner Darkness, Inner Light," Judy Neri circles down into the psyche, exploring zones of darkness and light, of suffering and deliverance.
The book is comprised of 52 poems, five of which are sonnets, and another five formal poems of one kind or another.
“Judy Neri's lyric poems open to a welcoming joy, where door and day invite us to slide down "slants of light" toward a blossoming and slowly swirling dusk.”
—Judith McCombs, author of The Habit of Fire
(2005), four other books of poetry and two books on the work of Margaret Atwood.
“Always the Trains is a book that promises poems of honesty, paying attention to the collaboration of intellect and heart. We may never know what influences another's writing, yet the overwhelming result here is one of poetic pleasure.”
—Grace Cavalieri, Producer/host, "The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress."
“Deceptively conversational, Judy Neri’s poems bring to life the hidden worlds of her wide-ranging encounters, be they with teen lovers, the dust in Italy, butterflies at Brookside Gardens, a taxi driver, a Beethoven's sonata or composition by John Cage, family memories, even the loss of a toe. In a tone that welcomes us into a gathered circle, these poems register each day’s gifts without turning from the harms that can arrive with no warning whatsoever.”
—Merrill Leffler, author of Partly Pandemonium, Partly Love and Take Hold