The Pull of Life | Sojourners

The Pull of Life

My first encounter with Jane Siberry’s new recording, Maria, occurred during the brutal Montreal winter, which has a way of getting under my heaviest clothes, clenching me up tightly into a grey ball. I buried my face in the CD jacket and wept as I walked home, bumping into parking meters and those folks who didn’t get out of my way in time.

This reaction may seem extreme, but it is one of this Canadian songwriter’s great gifts: An artist who moves the way she wants to move, Siberry can meet us where we are (approaching winter, in this case), letting us sink into that moment while simultaneously making us remember the beauty that’s always around, waiting to be acknowledged and drawn “into your spine.” Like Annie Dillard, Siberry is a “looker,” one whose eyes are open to the textured richness of reality in all its brokenness and gratuitous beauty.

Maria is about spring, rebirth. Motifs of lambs, children, a yellow dress, flowers, and bumblebees all trace their paths in the form of adapted nursery rhymes and Siberry’s own intricate writing. All these creatures and things are gathered together in a force of creative momentum to convey the “pull of life.” The days of spring are “the days of open and procession,” when all life moves into “the great open-ness.” At its best, the writing draws us into Siberry’s gaze and her sense of the world as a buzzing, shaking, and living creature.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1996
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