Annette Opalczynski lives in New Castle, Delaware. She has worked for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Procurement Office for over 20 years. Her poems have been published in various magazines, including The North American Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Oberon, and The Sun. In 2009, she won Farmingdale State College’s Paumanok Poetry Prize and participated in the college’s visiting writers series. Nostalgia Press awarded Annette the Heart Poetry Award in 2014. Later that same year, she was a finalist for the Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Friends and Family is her first published chapbook.
These portraits of friends and family are vividly accessible yet leave a long afterglow. They’re not over when you put away the text. Annette Opalczynski is a natural poet: her metaphors stay with you like living presences; her tone is wistful, sometimes melancholy, yet full of wit and a sudden, surprising playfulness. Precise and unsparingly candid, she resists easy nostalgia but is never cold or lugubrious. These poems are a pleasure to read and reread. —Jack Sullivan, author of New World Symphonies and Hitchcock’s Music, both from Yale University Press
The poems in Annette Opalczynski’s Friends and Family move in subtle, distinguished ways. I was struck by their quiet power, their assertion of family as the fulcrum on which affection balances, and their attention to detail and gesture. Friends and Family is a book I will return to time and again. —Pablo Medina, author of The Island Kingdom (Hanging Loose Press, 2015)
In Friends and Family Annette Opalczynski reveals a wistful, sometimes nostalgic discomfort with the way things are. She does not flinch from the harsh realities of loss, illness, disability, and disappointment. At the same time, the strong images of these poems portray a life that persists, unabashedly resilient in the face of the small and great tragedies we all face, friends and family, every day of our lives.
The poems are both simple and strong at the same time, full of implications, understated and poignant. This is a collection that will resonate in the hearts of twenty-first century Americans and portray our culture in this time and place both here and abroad, now and for the future. It’s exactly what poetry should do. —Roberta Clipper (Robbie Clipper Sethi) author of The Bride Wore Red (Picador, 1997) and Fifty-Fifty (Silicon Press, 2003)