A Chair Keeps the Floor Down, celebrates and honors the art of teaching through image-filled love songs to her students, who often spin rather than speak. Through her poetry, Susan chronicles her rich career as a special education teacher, where she engaged in shared fields of discovery with children and families. Her craft of teaching began in adolescence when she tutored a young neighbor with a developmental disability, and grew from there. Susan poems
are grounded in detail and rhythm, giving language to the memory of her students, many of whom could not speak for themselves.
The collection is divided into two sections. In the first, Lately, Susan takes the reader on a journey into the classroom, where the children come alive in vivid details: "Nathan/ who loves the sound of milk cartons," Sebastian /who finds the shape of a lamp in everything." Throughout this section she weaves in images from her dreams: "In a dream/my father is alive with open arms/ mute little Henry/ suddenly has the word for run". In her poem "Lockdown", she
brings the reader into the very real day to day world of a teacher: "two teachers/ huddled in a closet", and in "Without Regrets" she poignantly describes the difficult job of trying to keep her
students safe after a rash of school shootings: "I want to make promises /I cant keep/about saving these tiny children/who after the miraculous downpour /jump into puddles/ and watch their footprints /follow behind them."
In the second section, Tell Me More, delves into Susans passage into retirement.
In "Imprint of Small Hands, she explores the way the rhythm of her life has changed:
"I move/from the staccato routines/ of a job to do/to a cat body/ fluidly rounding/into all the layers/yet to bloom." In "At the Public Swimming Pool," she reflects on joining a new community of peers, "We are writers and pagans/ lawyers and carpenters/ secretaries and healers...we are teachers/ who still teach/ and retired ones /who remember/ the beat of the classroom/with its adrenaline magic/and fatigue. As she discovers new routines, she finds herself on buses and on streets still noticing the children," girl with an eager mouth/puckering around/the sweet globe/ of a lollipop."
A Chair Keeps the Floor Down, is a poignant and crafted collection of poetry, which not only honors children and teachers, but also gives tribute to the unfolding process of aging: "I am 65/ still whirling/through air/and water/bare feet/curving around rocks/ to praise the ground."
Author: Susan Dambroff Language: EnglishBinding: PaperbackPages: 46Publisher: Finishing Line PressPublication Date: 2021-03-19