Spectral Waves, the eighth book of poetry by Northwest poet and former nun Madeline DeFrees, combines lyrical meditations on nature, art, and cataract surgery with sonnet sequences about Elvis Presley and sculptor Henry Moore. DeFrees also draws heavily on other poets; she engages Keats, Frost, and Merwin, among others, in conversational debates with the confidence and familiarity of a poet who has spent decades studying her art.
“What she demands is that we enter a world alive with significance and be willing to wrest meaning from it, to see a parable in something as simple as finding a near-lifeless spider in the pages of a book… If you are willing to answer her demand, you will be richly rewarded.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Feisty and haunting, the poems in DeFrees’s tenth collection range from sonnets about Elvis to lyrics about cataracts, birds, and the plants in her well-tended garden.” —Ploughshares
“DeFrees, a former nun, imbues her poetry not only with religion but with a classical sensibility and a vast knowledge of English literature… this entire volume is built around seeing—the mystical and the actual, the thing seen and the memory of things seen.” —Soho Weekly News