As the hours tick down on this November 26th, another busy day, much too busy as far as I'm concerned, I want to take time to celebrate a woman whose life ended too soon, at the young age of 45. Lara Tucker Cottrell was a gifted poet and teacher, a daughter, wife, and mother to her two children. She left behind a manuscript of poetry that her parents Lanny and Ellie Tucker published a few months ago, titled Indicia. They asked me to write a foreword to it, which I was honored to do, having found Lara's poetry vibrant and memorable. I will be posting a few of her poems over the next several days. I wish you happy birthday, Lara, through the walls of time, as Bill Monroe sang in his haunting song by that name.
I hear a voice out in the darkness
It .... whispers through the pines
I know it's my sweetheart a calling
I hear her through the walls of time
THE BUTTERFLY ON HER PALM
Foreword to the poetry of Lara Tucker Cottrell
Trying to gather up words for a poet whose poems have come to me so soon after her untimely leave-taking feels like trying to navigate the mystery of poetry itself--the undercurrents, the backwaters, the glimmering surfaces that always promise more and yet more that lives beneath. Untimely, that cliché we use when someone leaves us too early! And yet, used here in this gathering of words, it is much more than a cliché. It, too, is a mystery, for in her last poems, Lara Cottrell seems to move outside time. Beyond it, into a place of what I call "always." Siempre. She "untimes" time, undoes it as if unlacing a corset's stays. She lets it fall away and in doing so, she becomes all luminous body and breath.
As a child she was immersed in the world of her senses, the first requirement for a poet, as Federico Garcia Lorca reminds us. Even as a child she became a "professor of the five bodily senses," to quote Lorca. Every pore in her body was and remained open. Her ears, eyes, the tips of her fingers, mingling sight, sound, and and taste in ways that a classroom professor would call synaesthesia. She wove her world together through poetry, her poet's heritage as ancient as the Cherokee language still spoken in the Carolina mountains. The mythic hawk Tlanuwa must have visited Lara often, riding the currents of her imagination. Wayah the wolf must have been with her in her poem "Diagnosis," his eyes glowing, like her own glowing body, as she walked her "wild dogs" in the windy night, saying "...I am wired to me, the dogs breathe hard, we are all one muscle."
Lara’s parents have published her poems in a book titled Indicia, a work she was hoping to complete before she died.
It also contains some etchings and drawings by her father, Lanny, and photographs by her sister Sasha-- which are used to divide some sections-- photographs of Lara and her family, and tributes to her memory including a special eulogy written by her brother Scott.
Proceeds from the sale of Indicia will go into a fund for Lara's children, Laja and Logan.
If you would like to purchase a copy or copies, please send a payment of $16.63 for a soft cover copy or $25.96 for a hard cover copy. This includes sales tax and mailing costs. [The check can be made out toL. Tucker/Indicia with a notation on the left lower side of the check that it is for "Indicia"].
Orders should be accompanied by the address to which the book[s] should be mailed.
The mailing address for the order is: Indicia.
PO Box 3084
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The cost of the book is $13.86 for a soft copy and $23.49 for a hard copy.