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.
– Nancy Eimers, author of OZ
A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection
Published by Press 53
Named Second Finalist in the 2022 Poetry Society of Virginia North American Poetry Book Award
Received Honorable Mention in the 2022 North Carolina Poetry Society Brockman-Campbell Book Award
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Local bookstore: Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC
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Reviews for Anything That Happens
“In these strong, unflinching poems, Cheryl Wilder takes us on a journey through her personal hell following a crippling car crash after one too many for the road. Page after page she shows us how one careless event can have shattering and far-reaching consequences for a lifetime. I can’t recall another book that so precisely and relentlessly explores guilt and suffering. These sad, artful poems will stay with you.” —Jeff Worley, Poet Laureate of Kentucky, 2019-2021, Judge 2022 Brockman-Campbell Award
“[Anything That Happens is] a potent collection that invites readers to walk in Cheryl’s shoes. And, it provides traction for assessing and moving beyond these poignant and powerful moments of quiet desperation.” —D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“The poems in Anything that Happens puzzle together the emotions of life, fitting words into sharp, emotive slivers that pierce a heart with empathy.” —Susan E. Morris, Independent Book Review
“Wilder doesn’t hide behind poetic devices that can make trauma beautiful or romantic or at least palatable. Instead, when writing about the accident and its aftermath, Wilder’s choice is often sparse language with anaphoric qualities…” —Angie Dribben, Aquifer: The Florida Review Online
“I don’t know that I have ever heard of a book of poetry being called a page-turner, but I opened it when it arrived in the mail, expecting to just take a quick peek and read the rest as I had more time, and ended up sitting down and devouring it. Just gorgeous.” —More reviews at Goodreads
“Anything That Happens is a book rich with the experience of a life well-lived. Deep with meaning and heart, readers can learn a great deal by focusing on the significance of each piece. Much like a young sibling that learns how to avoid mistakes by watching their big brother or sister, this book allows its readers to learn through the trial-and-error process of the author.” — Jacob R LaMar, Readers’ Favorite
“This woman fears the scythe of chance, as well—that the worst can happen to anyone, any day, as the collection’s title implies.” —Anna McFadyen, North Carolina Literary Review
Blog Book Tour
Serena Agusto-Cox of Poetic Book Tours curated a tour with passionate, dedicated readers and reviewers.
- April 1: Diary of an Eccentric (Review) –There is something real in these poems, in Wilder’s search for “home,” something that is both haunting and cathartic.
- April 5: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review) – Anything That Happens left me breathless.
- April 14: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview) – What about writing do you enjoy the most? Writing helps me process my thoughts and emotions—the core of why I write.
- April 21: Impressions in Ink (Review) – The poems are sometimes brutal and desperate to be heard—in my face with powerful feelings.
- April 29: Jorie Loves A Story (Interview & Review) – A wonderful pattern of choice and purpose to the ways in which this collection was arranged.
- May 3: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review) – Cheryl Wilder’s Anything That Happens is a book I will not soon forget. I imagine I will carry it with me for a long time to come.
- May 4: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post) – So, what do we believe in? How do we spend our time? What will we leave behind?
- May 5: Suko’s Notebook (Guest Post) – One piece of advice given to me over the years has been to read my work-in-progress out loud.
- May 6: Anthony Avina’s Blog (Review) – The jumble of pain, memories, and yearning in the face of great loss is not only felt in the author’s powerful writing but resonates with so many, including this author, who watched his own mother have to say goodbye to his grandmother.
- May 7: Anthony Avina’s Blog (Guest Post) –The thing about needs is they don’t disappear. Whether I wanted to believe it or not, I was a poet, and a poet needs to write poetry. There’s no escaping it. (Oh, thank goodness.)
From the cover
“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 Wilder works through the maze of emotion. In the end, we witness change and redemption, but the psychic weight remains. As she 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
Virtual Book Launch March 23, 2021
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 her journey from a young adult consumed by shame and self-hatred to a woman she can live with… and even respect. Along the way, Wilder marries, has a son, divorces, and cares for her dying mother. Anything That Happens examines what it takes to reconcile a past marked by a grave mistake, a present as caregiver to many, and a future that stretches into one long second chance.