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Heather Corbally Bryant
In Lottery Ticket, Heather Corbally Bryant explores themes of love, family, and death with poetic meditations on relationships and the natural world. The luck hinted at in the title guides the reader through poems that closely examine ephemeral experiences, teasing out the brilliant emotional core of each: sorrow and fierce pride after the death of a parent, wonder during a trip to the ocean where a child spots seals, anger and weary acceptance after a partner’s infidelity and the dissolution of a relationship.
The titular poem, “Lottery Ticket” brings the collection full circle, observing an old woman’s ritual of buying and scratching off lottery tickets in a shop: “One by one, she scratches each / Digit with the rounded edges of / A shiny nickel, eyebrows knitted / And knotted…” Bryant writes, and then closes with a meditation on the strangeness, the luck, and the beauty in even the most hopeless acts—“she turns up a loser / Five times over; who was to think / that she would be so lucky?”
Heather Corbally Bryant (formerly Heather Bryant Jordan) currently teaches in the English department at the Pennsylvania State University. Previously, she taught at the University of Michigan, Harvard College, and at Wellesley College. Her first poetry chapbook, Cheap Grace, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. In addition, she has published poems in The Christian Science Monitor and the 2007 anthology of poetry, In Other Words. She lives in State College Pennsylvania with her three children.
A review of Lottery Ticket appeared in the April 2014 issue 113 of Verse Wisconsin, stating “readers of Heather Corbally Bryant’s Lottery Ticket are likely to wonder just how we can be so lucky over and over again.”
Lottery Ticket is available for purchase through Parallel Press for $10.00. Discounts are provided for libraries, booksellers, and non-profit organizations.
We habitually underestimate the effects of radomness. ~Leonard Mlodinow
Late afternoon November gloom,
An old woman alone comes into a
Shop, opens her black purse,
And pours out her dull dollars
In exchange for a piece of paper
With the numbers covered over—
One by one, she scratches each
Digit with the rounded edges of
A shiny nickel, eyebrows knitted
And knotted, she turns up a loser
Five times over; who was to think
That she would be so lucky?