Carolyn Grassi
August 26, 2021



What the Psychic Said by Grace Cavalieri is a marvelous collection of poems. Divided into 3 parts, in Section I: “The Octopus Poems” form a group of 7, each uniquely focused, yet tied together in their themes of identity with and empathy for an octopus. At times the creature is other, a sea creature, then becomes the poet, or a being radiating affection, conflict, mystery, endurance, uncertainty, fluidity. The poet marvels at the octopus having three hearts, while she says of herself: that “red is not the color of my heart,” implying the possibility of loving widely in multiple ways, as if having more than one heart to love and experience life. The concluding poem “Sea Belt” offers this poignant memorable line: “I want to stop losing the past . . . I want to raise the net of memory”


In Section II “Stalked” (1. to 11. poems) we read of a woman who is seemingly seduced by a strong attractive man, who gradually in the poem sequence, appears as not only fickle and untrustworthy of love, but harmful, even abusive to the woman. This is a powerful dramatic sequence of poems speaking in the voice of any woman who has been or knows someone who has suffered severely in a relationship.


Section III “Poems and Meditations” is packed lyrically and reflectively with a deeply felt closeness to Nature, words are alive, as when the poet speaks of and to: the sun, rain, leaves, hummingbirds, a hill, park, sunflower, sea, sky, a pool, children, a husband, home . . . each word within the poem relates to the whole piece, alive with energy, chosen with care.


Various themes appear as titles indicate, such as: Dirt, The Mazurka, The Ground that Haunting Makes, Once Upon a Hummingbird, The Test of Sunlight, Come To A Wedding (celebrating same sex marriage), Prophecy, Flyaway (about a 96 year old mentor-friend) and more wonderful works.


Here is the poem title for the book: What the Psychic Said, where the poet allows stream of consciousness (think Andre Breton ) or perhaps an actual psychic reading…a surrendering to identify with diversity outside and within oneself. Moving phrases, many lines worth recalling time and again, as “in the church of forgiveness” (Resurrection), “…as one who dares to give away the precious pebbles of her life / and someone else who dares to take them” (Voyages), “. . . Poems / may be crushed but memory is the hot gold made every day / They stay” (Let’s Not Shoot the Poets), “I can walk the yard through the gate / to enter my own devotions” (Weather Report), and from the final poem: “these are the velvet days take your mark swimmers” (At the Naval Academy Pool).


Lovely line in the first poem Guardian of Time is: “Like images in God’s dream.” Ah, poems mentioning Athena, Buddha, Prince, Eros, Bill Bailey and more, indicate the wide net this fine poet casts and places beautifully in her poems. Each reader will discover lines they love each time they open this book, What the Psychic Said. Reviewed by: Carolyn Grassi, author of Brooklyn Beginnings :Poems



I can’t wait to order and I’ll send it to you for an autograph if that’s ok. Too excited!

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 12:31

What the Psychic Said is another great book by the esteemed Grace Cavalieri, a poet I much admire. To see a poem in dialogue with Dan Murano's beautiful cover photo, go to and click on Look Inside. Lovely poem, beautiful cover. Fine book of poetry, well worth reading!
The opinion that this is a fine bookwell worth reading comes from Grace is also featured on, an online anthology, and in For #MeToo Anch’io

Sun, 08/29/2021 - 10:08

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