“Catharine Clark-Sayles writes with a cool critical eye and yet, at the same time, with great grace and conviction. This a delicate balance—one not every poet can manage—but she does it extremely well. Her life experiences are broad and her compassion is unlimited. In Lifeboat, Clark-Sayles has many poems about seemingly ordinary miracles which happen “the way mashed and spoiling/grapes become wine, or flour and water / stirred can make bread…””
“It’s all there in the title poem, &ldauo;Lifeboats,” and the poems that make up this collection enact what Catharine Clark-Sayles calls the “rules of lifeboats: Someone always goes mad; someone always dies; and someone will be eaten...” And the attentive reader will, like those who survive, be “forever changed, marked with the phosphorescence of their passage through deep water and deep night.” I am at once stunned and moved by these gutsy, wise and unflinchingly honest poems: “Lifeboats,” but also “To A Poet Lost To Alzheimer” and “The Cradles of St. Kilda.” Dr. Clarke-Sayles is a truth-teller, and there's a certain quiet, a serenity to the work, well-observed and welcome in our mad, unsettled times. Seems, does it not, that we are all, one way and another, ready these days for the cry, “Man the lifeboats!” And here, friend, here, you hold one in your hands!”
Catharine Clark-Sayles writes poetry between patients in her medical practice. Her family came from West Virginia and traveled over much of the United States with her military father. She completed medical school in Denver and moved to San Francisco. A childhood love of poetry resurfaced in her forties and she has been writing ever since. Dr. Clark-Sayles has recently had poems published in Runes, Spillway, and online journals Pirene's Fountain and locuspoint.org. Anthologies including her work are The Place That Inhabits Us, The Healing Art of Writing, The Squaw Valley Review, and Body Language. Her first book, One Breath, was published by Tebot Bach in 2008.