”Commotion,” by Karen Sagstetter, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2019, paperback, 41 pages, $19.99

This eloquently composed book of poetry begins before opening the first page. Looking carefully on the front cover is a plaque on the forefront of the pier “Advertencia,” Spanish meaning warning. In the distance is a lighthouse with high electrical conductors, a lone figure sits on a bench near the lighthouse.

The author, Karen Sagstetter, crafts each poem with such skill, readers are drawn into the picture she creates. Life is commotion. Sagstetter’s meticulous grasp of language and experiences, using words only necessary to the poem, relying on readers knowledge of history, renders a powerful impact to each poem, some of which brought me to tears.

Sagstetter grew up in Texas, and shares stories of the Galveston area in previous short stories, literary journals, and nonfiction books.

A Fulbright scholar, who studied in Japan, she also headed publications at two Smithsonian galleries and served as senior editor at the National Gallery of Art.

Sagstetter lives in Maryland, but her ties to the Galveston area are evident in the series of linked stories largely set in Galveston.

If you’ve not read any of her works, it’s time to start. Begin with this short book of poems. You’ll be enriched for having done so.

Margaret Barno lives in Tyler. She is an avid reader, story and puzzle creator, and called Galveston home for 17 years.

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