Project Description

SUSAN GARDNER

Gardner, a writer and visual artist based in New Mexico, presents a sonically and linguistically rich set of verses mined from foreign travels, personal interactions, and experiences of the natural world. “Locked Gate” tells the story of a Guatemalan woman who disappeared in 1980. “No body. No grave. Not a strand of hair” remains, yet, “Remembered…she’s alive as you or me.” Other protest poems address the mistreatment of women (“we know the sorrow of / our younger sisters”) and the pervasiveness of violence (“Any time is the time / to go to war”). Elsewhere, verses resemble haiku in their concision and natural focus…. Fresh metaphors and vivid images linger: “Thunder rolls its baritone song nearby” and “white-whiskered crane alone / in morning stillness.” “Cezanne’s Apples” and “Garden Bench” are two of the strongest poems….“Yellow,” a frequent adjective, lends a nostalgic glow to “Montserrat Revisited,” one of several standout travel poems: “last tenacious yellow cleaves to sycamore.” The gentle eroticism of “Desiderata” finds muted resonance in “Bedtime Story”…. Physics and Internet security, respectively, provide the unusual vocabulary for two later poems. Care has clearly been taken over the varied stanza lengths and indentation, while Gardner’s brush-stroke images are germane illustrations. Twenty-five poems are accompanied by Spanish versions—an additional gift for bilingual readers.

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Lifted to the Wind ~ Poems 1974-2015

Pub Date:11/1/2015

DESCRIPTION
Poetry. Finalist for the 2016 Lascaux Prize for Poetry. Includes bilingual Spanish-English, and Japanese-English poems translated by the author. In her latest book, LIFTED TO THE WIND, Susan Gardner brings us a four-decade retrospective of her poetry, some composed originally in Spanish as well as in the language of Japanese calligraphy. In addition to being a poet, literary editor and the co-publisher of Red Mountain Press, Ms. Gardner is a well-established painter and photographer. Her aesthetic sensibilities in the visual arts are easily evident in her poetry. She gives us a true reckoning of what is and an artist’s look at what might be.

“Gardner, a writer and visual artist based in New Mexico, presents a sonically and linguistically rich set of verses… Fresh metaphors and vivid images linger… Precise language and imagery reinforce the conclusion that noticing leads to enlightenment: ‘a few things / unremarked / awaken us to this life.'”—Kirkus

“LIFTED TO THE WIND is artist and poet Susan Gardner’s sixth book, a rich collection of poems from over four decades illuminated by seven pages with original brush-and-ink work and one photograph. Her mostly short poems, some in Spanish as well as English, probe the complexities and contradictions of human experience—art, love, loneliness, eros, even war—even as they portray the natural world with vividness and precision: ‘Thin ice cracks in tatters’ in ‘Nebraska Sunrise’; ‘Thunder rolls its baritone song’ in ‘Rain in Santa Clara.’ Yet they don’t stop there—as we see the girl in ‘August’ ‘listening to the shadows,’ and as ‘Galaxy’ concludes, there’s ‘Still a trace of red sky beyond the grounded world,’ these poems take us to another dimension: they lift us to the wind.—Gordon Ball

“It stopped me in my tracks… Poems inspired by art, a process called ekphrasis, are legion, Auden’s ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ based on Breughel’s ‘The Fall of Icarus’ being one of the best. But what happens when poet and painter inhabit the same body? Well, Susan Gardner’s work is what happens. She invites you to see a poem and, I suspect, read a painting. The poems are invitations to set aside your narrative expectations and let the mind rest, take in an image, a detail, participate in a meditative process, a sort of sensory and spiritual inventory. They are painterly snapshots inviting us to view a world largely unmediated, the ‘I’ noticeably absent, giving precedence to the ‘eye.'”—Gary Geddes

“Susan Gardner creates a recursive chain of splendid poems in LIFTED TO THE WIND: POEMS 1974-2015. She splashes lasting images across pages, defining aesthetic moments that indeed are ‘lifted’ outside chronologies. This innovative collection is a primer for other writers—the poet teaches how to sequence a range of works. Her painterly perspective celebrates colors, textures, and shapes. In ‘Night Table,’ for example, objects framed on a tabletop create an elegant still life. Readers may lose themselves in this and other individual poems—or read the book straight through. In either case, they will return to savor Gardner’s words over and over. This book, embellished with the poet’s own illustrations, is a lasting work of art.”—Denise Low

“Muchisisisisisimas Felicididades!!!! Congratulations for this lifelong way you have of portraying life for us all.”—Perla Krauze, artist, Mexico City

“Susan Gardner’s latest book feels special to the touch. The… imagistic poems and supplemental ink paintings and calligraphy, effectively move the reader to contemplate the glory of the natural world as well as everyday realities that are often overlooked… Her collection draws the reader into a timeless, holy conversation—as if prayer is a pattern of observation and response, a way of seeking truth beyond the immediate surface. A careful reading of LIFTED TO THE WIND requires a reflective, contemplative mood. The work functions as ritual. The aesthetic control that Gardner exhibits rewards such careful attention.”—Ken Hada, Whale Road Review

Susan Gardner