BOOKS: This poetry collection is ‘so good’

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Shuly Xóchitl Cawood recently published her latest poetry collection, “Something So Good It Can Never Be Enough.” Cawood, who grew up in Yellow Springs, is a versatile writer. She has published all kinds of things, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, a story collection. She even wrote a book of advice, as in hard earned wisdom.

The author has a talent for writing poems that seem very personal. She immerses us in bubbling pools of deep emotion. As we wander along her poetic pathways we wonder, did this really happen? I have interviewed the poet numerous times and she always insists that some aspects of her poetic expression are based upon her own experiences while the rest is imagined.

She seems fairly certain that we won’t be able to determine the difference, what actually happened, or who she really is. In “Hunger” she writes: “You don’t know me well enough to know the things I want but do not have, or have but do not want, or wanted but tossed out...”

In her poem “Dark Secret” chocolate becomes a metaphor for other things: " …denied for so long all the ways my body wanted to devour and be devoured. So I am left now with a bin, and I eat the bars, not even slowly...”

She addresses singular joys and universal frustrations, like losing weight. She is so relatable. In “The Laws of Less and More” her struggles, or somebody’s (surely not hers!), become obvious: “I did not eat a sandwich for so many years. I only yearned for parts of me to disappear, for other parts to show, be admired, render me beautiful. I believed a body could do so much more if I gave it less.”

She lures us outside, and inside, sometimes all at once. Witness her opening to “Some Kind of Prayer.”

“What can I tell you that you do not already know?

Listen to the grass, its long legs whistling as it swishes.

Touch the brush of cattails, the brittle wings of pine cones,

the dry skin of chokeberries - feel their burst. Taste rain.”

Sometimes her titles are poems unto themselves. Like her poem “On the Day My Bridal Dress Goes to Goodwill.” How is that for an evocative title? Immediately we want to know what happened. Of course, it didn’t really happen to her, right? Or perhaps, it did. Why would that dress end up at a thrift store? Bad memories, maybe? Finally letting go?

Cawood now lives in Tennessee. Her parents, Hap and Sonia Cawood, still reside in Yellow Springs. Their daughter is back in the area this weekend for a homecoming of sorts.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit Contact him at

How To Go

What: Dogs, Confessions, & Dark Chocolate - a poetry reading with Shuly Xóchitl Cawood.

When: 3 - 5 p.m. today

Where: Emporium Wines/Underdog Cafe - 233 Xenia Avenue - Yellow Springs


Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed