In this book of poems, Jeff Pew explores life’s mysteries—loss, celebration, mindfulness—through the intimate minutiae of the day-to-day. A lover’s note left in the kitchen, straws nervously lined up in a dive bar: the undercurrents of small but charged moments like these are explored through language that is trim and muscular.

one-foot-inPew, a high-school counsellor and creative-writing teacher in Kimberley, British Columbia, holds his experiences with death up to the light, from the title to the last poem in the book, which is a direct address to death itself. Pew lifts the cloak off many of death’s inconspicuous forms: a tangled log jam, a plucked nose hair, the overpriced plumber. Throughout this careful observation, a sweet obituary to youth rivers its way through the book, a nostalgia for the mischievous and innocent antics of childhood, before the inevitable truths adulthood brings, such as the strange pain and tender longing that resides even in the most celebratory love.

One Foot In is Pew’s second publication; in his first, Radiant Danse Uv Being, Pew edited a collection of works in homage to his friend and source of inspiration, Canadian poet Bill Bissett. Now he proves to be an inspiration in his own right, reminding us to laugh at the mundane and to celebrate what is wild in us.

– Review written by Britt Bates. One Foot In is published by NeoPoiesis Press.