Leaves of Absence

Semi-Finalist for the 2013 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition

With a lush look at the body in nature, Leaves of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affection, Sally Deskins’ art considers the pallet of the human form within trees, the tall creatures that we stand among. Moving from fairy tale to children’s book, film representation to fact, Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry tells the love story of two trees as they fall from a growing forest into the outstretched limbs of the other. Together the art and words weave a rich ecology of place to show us that even when we’re reaching away from what we know, our lives are actually becoming more entwined, binding us to what we love.

A poetic field guide to trees and love, Leave of Absence sparks rich memories of young days—passionate, unruly and fondly recalled. It laments the deep wounds we inscribe upon one another as we grow—fallen tree and heartworn lover alike. While the ordinary passerby does not know of their secrets, in this collection of poems and impressions, Magnolia, Rose, Oak and Catalpa tell their story to all who will lean in to listen.

– Mel Shapcott

Once there was the story of how fruit brought ruin and Eve’s temptation brought sorrow to the world. In Leaves of Absence, Deskins’s and Wiseman’s collaboration brings us back to the garden. We are immersed in the green shade of affection, brought to our senses through rich visual compositions and poetry that rings of a new found energy in the garden.

– Karen Fitzgerald

The growth of trees brings uninvited events. A pioneer spirit is needed to survive and remain hardy. Leave of Absence: An illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affection is a powerful grafting of poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman and lush and delicate drawings by Sally Deskins. This book is a refreshing hybrid of natural history and emotional discovery.

– Barbara Roux

With the strength of an oak and deep as its roots, the poetry of Laura Madeline Wiseman synchronizes gently with the sweet flow of the willow accomplished by Sally Brown Deskins. Nature inspires. Having read this lovely book I will never again look at a tree without feeling its beating heart within my own.

– Sheila Grabarsky