(Review) Anything That Happens, a poetry collection by Cheryl Wilder

Publisher and Publication Date: Press 53. March 25, 2021.
Genre: Poetry.
Pages: 73.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from Press 53. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Poetry readers.
Rating: Excellent.

Front cover art by Coleen Tagnolli.

Amazon link

Barnes and Noble link

Author Info:

Cheryl Wilder is the author of Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection (Press 53, 2021), a collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Her chapbook, What Binds Us (Finishing Line Press, 2017), explores the frailty and necessity of human connection.

A founder and editor of Waterwheel Review, Cheryl earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sign up for her newsletter.


“The difficult story of what follows a terrible accident in Anything That Happens has me thinking about the word aftermath, how it means not only dire consequences but second-growth, as new grass after a harvest. Cheryl Wilder’s poems are almost shatteringly direct: they explore guilt and suffering so cleanly and so precisely that every detail testifies, and mercy is ever possible. This is a brave and honorable book.”
–Nancy Eimers, author of Oz

Anything That Happens is a mature poetic inquiry into the ways early trauma can reverberate through the whole of a life—relationships, family, one’s sense of self. The poems are candid, sharp-edged and very well rendered. You can taste ‘the bone in the broth’ here as she works through the maze of emotion. In the end, we witness change and redemption, but the psychic weight remains. As Wilder aptly describes it: ‘I am two people now— // the before and the after; one I’ve already forgotten, // the other I have not met.’” –Mark Cox, author of Readiness: Prose Poems


At the age of twenty, Cheryl Wilder got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive. She emerged from the car physically whole. Her passenger, a close friend, woke up from a coma four months later with a life-changing brain injury. Anything That Happens follows Wilder’s journey from a young adult consumed by shame and self-hatred to a woman she can live with… and even respect.

My Thoughts:

Part 1 holds 30 poems
Part 2 holds 30 poems

The memories and feelings in poetry are those Wilder has carried with her. They express how they continue to thread through her life.

All of them are personal, revealing, raw, evocative, and haunting.
Anger and sarcasm is on the surface. I don’t need to look for these feelings.
The poems are sometimes brutal and desperate to be heard-in my face with powerful feelings.

When I read poetry I try not to figure out what the poet is saying and instead just go with how the poem speaks to me. I cannot help but be drawn to the last poem on page 64; and wonder what it means?

I have several favorites: “Anything That Happens,” “Slipped 1,” “No One Will Ever Love You,” “The House in Me,” “Uprooted,” “Speak of Crossroads,” and on page 64 “To Have a House.”

I love the front cover art work. I love the colors and texture. There is an inner red surrounded by hues of green and blue. The red obviously wants to be seen!


2 thoughts on “(Review) Anything That Happens, a poetry collection by Cheryl Wilder

  1. Pingback: Anything That Happens by Cheryl Wilder (Spring 2021) |

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