Lisa Martin’s new poetry collection seeks the kind of lyric truth that lives in paradox, in the dwelling together of seeming opposites such as life and death, love and loss, faith and doubt, joy and sorrow. Here readers will find a range of moods, tones, and subjects, as well as both traditional and contemporary forms—from sonnets to prose poems. This is a collection imbued with the light of an enduring, if troubled, faith. With its focus on spirit, ethics, and how to live well, Believing is not the same as Being Saved offers a tender meditation on the moments that make a life.
There’s a way of speaking as if the difference matters, as if the road home is finite—everything begins and ends somewhere, like your hand in mine, or how last light fractures in the limbs of pine—while beyond my window, a coyote follows a trail into the dusk that only it can see. — from "Map for the road home"
"Lisa Martin's "Believing is not the same as Being Saved" cleaves even closer to the holy, keeping religious motifs so near her natural language that they slip in unnoticed until they start to pile up, as in the various uses of the sword 'saved' in the title poem. Martin's best poems have a knack for reaching epiphanies by assiduously focusing and unfocusing their gaze.... Martin takes seriously the need to navigate between the philosophical and material worlds. "
# 1 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, April 02, 2017
# 4 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, April 23, 2017
'[This] is an intricate collection of poems that meditates on pivotal traumatic events in the speaker’s life that challenge her faith.... In language that turns in and out of itself in finely tuned poetic phrasing, Martin deftly manages a vision that embraces death and loss as the other side of life and love and what matters most to us.... With poems that carry a religious and philosophic fervour—whose parallel in literary tradition might be Gerard Manley Hopkins with his rapturous sonnets that delve into his own faith and doubt about God – Martin’s verses are embedded with incandescent images from the natural world and are sinuous with thought riddled with paradox." The Goose, Vol. 16, Iss. 1  [Full review at http://scholars.wlu.ca/thegoose/vol16/iss1/10/]
"... a careful examination of grief, change and the lines between things. Throughout the collection, Martin’s speaker is deeply attuned to the mutability of the world. Images blend, timelines shift, and everything changes.... Martin urgently carries life and death to the reader, not to provide answers or antidotes, but to do the important work of showing us the rawness of living in a world where good things end." [Full review at http://www.prairiefire.ca/believing-is-not-the-same-as-being-saved-by-lisa-martin]
"Believing is not the same as Being Saved" is a quietly elegant book of poems.... You can see and feel the meticulous care Martin has taken in crafting these poems, constructing this book.... Martin understands that much of life is a paradox, that joy and sorrow are birds dancing on the same high wire." (Full review at http://michaeldennispoet.blogspot.ca/2017/06/believing-is-not-same-as-being-saved.html)
# 8 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, May 06, 2018