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Inheritance of Aging Self by Lucinda Marshall

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 66 pgs.
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*** full disclosure: Lucinda, who is a member of my poetry workshop group, is a great mentor and a golden angel to poets in the poetry community***

Inheritance of Aging Self by Lucinda Marshall explores what it means to age, to see our ancestors in the mirror, and to make peace with the life we’ve led, left behind for others to make sense of, and the life we have in the present. Life is just one patchwork quilt, isn’t it? Yes, Lucinda is a quilter, a natural puzzle maker.

From "My Grandmother's Tea Cups" (pg. 1)

...
I see the you in me
as I become the wearer
of your papery skin,
an inheritance 
with its own design,

Patterns and textures take center stage in Marshall’s poems, weaving together a quilt her family will cherish always. But there are the emotional ties woven in each square, from the anger at aging and loss of youth to the acceptance of the multi-faceted you, a beauty beneath the perception of who you were then, like in “Mirror Image.”

Marshall says in “Contemplation of Succulence in Sonora”: “I do know that erosion changes us–// a whittling away, until only bones and distillation/ remain to provide the grounding” Some of us take longer to find our grounding, drifting from place to place, family to family, friend to friend, but these experiences eventually ground us in who we are and who we are not.

In this effort, we also need to learn how to create our own boundaries to preserve our mental well-being, like Marshall’s “I Do Not Ask” and “Serenity Prayer For Singular Existence” remind us. Boundaries are necessary to ensure burnout is kept at bay, that we can be our best selves when others need us, and that we can fulfill our own desires and dreams, even if others don’t quite understand.

Marshall’s collection hinges on the title poem, which comes midway through the book. Where the narrator comes to terms with aging and the potential for lost memory, lost sense of self, fewer days ahead. It is an unsettling moment when age becomes a reality you can no longer ignore. “she wonders what it feels like to be ashes,// what part of who she is will be left/,” says the narrator of “What Remains.”

Inheritance of Aging Self by Lucinda Marshall is about the universal, solitary journey we all travel on. Don’t be mistaken, we are journeying with our past, present, and future side-by-side and no one can reconcile those facets of our selves but us. We must come to terms with all that we are and what remains, what we leave behind, how others will know us and remember us, and what pursuits will be of greatest importance in our waning years. That “Unicorn” is in the surf, it’s just out of reach unless we’re willing to believe and lunge forth toward it.

RATING: Quatrain

Photo Credit: Jaree Donnelly

About the Poet:

Lucinda Marshall is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Inheritance Of Aging Self (Finishing Line Press,2021) and is available for purchase from Finishing Line Press, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. Marshall is an award-winning artist and writer whose poetry has appeared in Global Poemics, Broadkill Review, Foliate Oak, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Poetica, among others, as well as in the anthologies “Poems in the Aftermath” (Indolent Books), “You Can Hear The Ocean” (Brighten Press), “Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me?” (Beautiful Cadaver Project), and “We Will Not Be Silenced” (Indie Blu(e) Publishing). Her poetry has won awards from Waterline Writers, Third Wednesday, and Montgomery Magazine.

She lives in Maryland and is the Founder of both the DiVerse Gaithersburg (MD) Poetry Reading, the Gaithersburg (MD) Poetry Workshop, and has served as a volunteer mentor for the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Workshop, part of a program run by the Maryland Writers’ Association.

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  1. […] you so much Serena Agusto-Cox for this amazing review of my book! It really captures what the book is about. I wanted to pull one bit to quote here and it was […]

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