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The Piercing


Southern Messenger Poets

64 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / None


  Paperback / 9780807131770 / September 2006

"Garren's poems evidence profound sensitivity to a world that many don't see, or from which they avert their eyes, and at her best, she offers powerful empathy and an arresting rendering of humanity's relation to nature." — Boston Review

The Piercing celebrates the here and now while endorsing a deep faith in the necessity of the imagination. In response to life in a literal world, Christine Garren's lyric poems ignite belief in exhilaration. Ordinary settings—a park, a pond, a littered vacant lot, an attic room—through Garren's eyes reveal something extraordinary. For example, in "February Snow," the poet surveys a winter scene through the windows of various rooms and reflects how "Sometimes it is beautiful, in some of the minutes / then ordinary again— / . . . that feeling / of air in the midst of burial." In "The Well," she writes of reaching an impasse in a relationship: "The exhilarating life is finished. We must accept it / this late afternoon and move / back into the rational world." Spare, quiet, visual distillations of the physical and emotional dimensions of the moment define The Piercing with a driving energy at once delicate and fierce.

Small piercing as if in the earlobe 
your leaving caused. Air is filling it now, time fills it,
the view through these windows fills the tiny hole.
The people on the street, the manic father,
the other father carrying his child in pink—this
millimeter's width opening is for a decade to fit through.
Look, there you go. There I go—there our landscape goes as if
through a fantastical roof's hole, the shingle pulled off, the nail off—
our death is
flying over the city.
—"The Piercing"
Christine Garren is the author of the poetry collections Afterworld and Among the Monarchs. A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist and a NEA Fellowship recipient, she was born in Philadelphia and has lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, since 1979.

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