Recognition for Lifted to the Wind Poems 1974 – 2015

Lifted to the Wind is a finalist for the Lascaux Prize for Poetry and the New Mexico Book Award.

 

Lifted to the Wind – Kirkus Review

Themes of nature, travel, relationships, and current events run through Gardner’s (To Inhabit the Felt World, 2013, etc.) collected poems, some of which are also in Spanish.

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, especially the central quartet of sections named after the seasons. 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. The former includes an array of color (“viridian, carmine, cochineal”), while the latter’s sibilance (“Sumptuous excess silences slow wind”) is a good example of alliteration. “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,” in which two people dream of building a bed of aspens. The bed is a symbol for their marriage, and there is a deliberate echo of Yeats’ “The Second Coming” as they wonder, “Would the center hold?” 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.

Precise language and imagery reinforce the conclusion that noticing leads to enlightenment: “a few things / unremarked / awaken us to this life.”

-Kirkus Reviews

Recognition for TO INHABIT THE FELT WORLD

The photograph is from the WaterLight series.

The photograph is from the WaterLight series.

Finalist for the Da Vinci Eye Award for cover art and design.

Exploding in consonants and fertile juxtapositions of verbs with their luxuriant tenses, rubbing against the grain… celebrating the meaning of anything seen, held, or enjoyed—this collection rocks the reader in ways post-modern poetry never will…. these poems make us want to believe in the human project—the words breathe and beat with music and electricity….” Indeed, these poems go after life, dragging it in, holding it close—devouring it through iambs and “…the Felt World.” — Eric Hoffer Book Award, Honorable Mention for Poetry

 

To Inhabit the Felt World is a collection of poetry from Susan Gardner, as she presents her own unique interpretation of the universe…. [With] awareness and wisdom, To Inhabit the Felt World is a fine addition to contemporary poetry collections, recommended — Midwest Book Review

 

Susan Gardner’s spare but urgent collection of poems, To Inhabit the Felt World, is “the roar of alive”…. I don’t believe I have ever read lines of such ferocity, honesty and pain….

To Inhabit the Felt World is a remarkable collection by a remarkable poet/painter/photographer. — Elizabeth Raby, poet, author of Ink on Snow

 

The sinews of Ms. Gardner’s poetic form elevate our own perceptions, so that we too, may unabashedly inhabit the felt world and restore those moments, which deem us human and aesthetically free. — Gary Worth Moody, author of Hazards of Grace

 

Susan takes us by the throat… into seemingly veiled poems that leave haunting images for us to reinterpret, to meditate upon. These are poems for the poet-breath within us. One reading, one long breath is not enough.… As a fellow poet, I am revived by this gathering of penetrating tenderness. — James McGrath, author of At the Edgelessness of Light, Dreaming invisible Voices and Speaking With Magpies

 

painfully honest and joyously expressive. You can almost hear the voice of the poet in the structure of the poems and in the powerful cadence of the words. Susan’s work speaks of honest emotion, introspection, and heart. — Sharon Vander Meer, Happenstance

beautiful in production and text — Joan Logghe, Poet Laureate Santa Fe 2010-2012 and author of The Singing Bowl

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

A book connects us to one another through time and space. We hold the author’s ideas in our hand unmediated by anything except our own curiosity.

 

I

 

The children’s room

five steps above the main floor

open shelves for young patrons

librarian’s desk near the door

 

Read pictures, read poems

hushed rustle of pages

dust motes in the window’s sunlight shaft

bindings across silk-smooth golden maple

quiet clicks stamp dates on paper slips

 

Borrow armfuls of books

 

Five steps down, secreted from infant eyes,

forbidden treasure

 

Necessary whispers only.  Perfect.

 

 

II

 

Marble beasts before limestone columns

allow passage

across hundreds of steps

mimes mug for nickels

anxious lovers suspended in anticipation of one face

arms overflow with books unaligned

 

readers ascend to their shared home

scholars climb the white flights

ernest heads bow with weight of words

 

III

 

Double-storied coffered domes over stacks,

asylum for earth’s every thought

city’s every scholar,

idler, pencil-pusher,

venerable, solitary,

prized, repudiated

                                   aged and child

have a place at this table

 

sounds brush through silent space,

talk soft at the desk,

pencils scribble,

shoes cross marble floors

index fingers slide under corners

                        impatient to turn pages

everything we touch is paper

 

thoughts from yesterday and millennia before

seined in paged nets

 

On heads bent over books

brass lamps shine gold

 

consolation for the lonely

comfort for the cold

solace for the bereft

 

stay until the midnight closing hour

 

TO INHABIT THE FELT WORLD

To-Inhabit-COVER-7.5x9-webcopy

Susan Gardner writes “with no other proof but memory.”

She urges us

“take one breath,

exhale

then one more.”

Susan takes us by the throat to Toronto Island, Montserrat, the New York Library, a hospital, into seemingly veiled poems that leave haunting images for us to reinterpret, to meditate upon. These are poems for the poet-breath within us. One reading, one long breath is not enough.  Within Susan Gardner’s writing is the deep breath we take at the end of the book that says, I have heard the roar of a poet responding to the love and pain in a private, felt world.

As a fellow poet, I am revived by this gathering of penetrating tenderness.

– James McGrath, author of At the Edgelessness of Light, Dreaming invisible Voices and Speaking With Magpies

 

Susan Gardner’s spare but urgent collection of poems, To Inhabit the Felt World, is “the roar of alive”

I don’t believe I have ever read lines of such ferocity, honesty and pain. Yet Gardner continues, observes, listens, “fog drips on a forest mouse/ somewhere near a song.” grows, creates,

Hand circles inside black boundary,

water reflects from black surface

ink blackens

marbles over inkstone

 

slowly, slowly  readies itself for the brush.

And she opens herself to pasiion, “ the body of one/ raging with joy/ against the surface of the other.” “Not the thickness of a thread is between us… nothing between us but this hour.”

To Inhabit the Felt World is a remarkable collection by a remarkable poet/panter/photographer. – Elizabeth Raby, poet, author of  INK ON SNOW

 

Appreciation by Gary Worth Moody

Susan Gardner works with poetic forms and visual imagery to capture moments in time. Her poetry and visual art demands that we honor our shared sensual reality. Susan’s work unwraps these moments, then bounds them in all dimensions, with harmonious silence and the symphonic, visual and aural cacophony of nature, which create the social, tactile and psychic space we inhabit. Her work bridges our inevitable sense of memory with a unifying sense of the present.

– Gary Worth Moody, author of HAZARDS OF GRACE

DRAWING THE LINE ~ A Passionate Life

Kirkus Reviews

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/susan-gardner/drawing-the-line-sgpPxDtA/

“much to ponder in this reflective memoir.” — Kirkus Reviews

The author recounts her life with an artist’s eye, furnishing telling details about the places and people she encounters. Arranged by locale, chapters contain shorter sections prefaced by a thematic word or phrase such as “No More Talking” or “The Dress,” making the book more accessible and richer than a list of events. Despite the disappointments in her life, the narrator doesn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead, she ties her experiences to political and historical events with clear, sometimes funny one-liners: “There was war in the Pacific and in Europe, and in our apartment.” In this way, her writing mirrors her line drawings—simple lines with surprising nuance and depth. The book’s title evokes her love of calligraphy, her meandering travels, her poetry (the book includes several poems) and society’s expectations for women that she must decide to uphold or not. Her deliberate storytelling style makes for thoughtful… reading.

Artists, writers and other “outsiders” will find much to ponder in this reflective memoir. — Kirkus Reviews

 

The Eric Hoffer Award

http://www.theusreview.com/USRhoffer.html#memoir

Honorable Mention

Drawing the Line: A Passionate Life, Susan Gardner, Red Mountain Press – The author has become an internationally known painter, photographer, and poet, and has traveled in Asia, Mexico, France, Canada, and throughout this country. Much of her artwork and some of her poems are included here. Although she has always been creative, she writes, “Being an artist was not a label I sought or understood. It is my identity, not a job… The intense desire for the work of making art is a yearning necessity, as irresistible as the most attractive and jealous lover.” ….This memoirist does not have grudges to bear; rather, her book reveals a fortunate woman, moving through her life’s adventures and disappointments with almost unflagging perseverance. It should especially provide inspiration for readers who are earlier on the risky yet rewarding path to “following one’s bliss.”

Drunken Boat # 15

http://www.drunkenboat.com/db15/drawing-the-line-a-passionate-life

Drawing the Line, a passionate life A Life Beyond the Lines by Jessica Treat

“Gardner’s memoir is most interesting and impressive…”

Susan Gardner is a poet and artist whose memoir, Drawing the Line, chronicles the life of a woman who increasingly places the rigor and discipline of art and the act of creation at the center of her life…..Gardner’s memoir is most interesting and impressive for its chronicle of the life of a highly intelligent, capable woman….

After an initial chapter in Mexico, Drawing the Linefollows Gardner’s life chronologically in a manner… which the reader comes to find increasingly compelling. The balance Gardner strikes between reserve and divulgence seems right, and the honesty and clear-sightedness with which she relates the continual challenges (the loss of a child, her husband’s affairs, exclusion from the working sphere abroad) as well as the resources she is able to draw from in facing them bind the reader to her with great compassion and respect.  Wherever she lives, she attempts to reach out, to create community, a life much larger than the one prescribed to her.  “From very early childhood I learned that because I was able to, I must do what was required of me,” (90) Susan Gardner writes. Here she chronicles her journey from meeting the requirements of being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, foreign service spouse, to those dictated by her art and her heart.  Gardner’s memoir will interest many….

Blood Lotus #22  Nov 2011 pp61-62

http://issuu.com/bloodlotus/docs/bl_22_whole_issue/61 

Drawing the Line ~  Passionate Life is a work to savor…. imbued with the same vitality, restraint, and dignity as a perfect line. – Diane Thomas, author of The Year the Music Changed blood lotus November 2011 p61-62

More commentary:

Drawing The Line is a beautiful story of a woman’s struggle to be herself…. a personal exploration of the last six decades, and a peek into the formation of an artist…. – San Francisco Book Review
 August 2011

Drawing the Line is a fine memoir with plenty to absorb throughout. – Midwest Book Review/Small Press BookWatch Vol 10 No.8 August 2011

Gardner has given us a meticulously detailed, ruthlessly honest and emotionally redemptive story…. Drawing the Line generously offers that epiphany to all of us. – Wayne Lee, author of Doggerel & Caterwauls: Poems Inspired by Cats & Dogs

… sophisticated in its simplicity and profound in its lack of guile. Drawing the Line is soulful and beautiful. – Marc Talbert, author of Altogether Ernest

Susan Gardner’s DRAWING THE LINE is a poignant and touching personal story that vividly captures what it is to grow and discover, not only as an artist, but as a human being. – Scott Harrison, Artistic Director, Ironweed Productions

 

Box of Light ~ Caja de Luz Poems in Spanish and English

Galatea resurrects #11 (a poetry engagement) Tuesday, December 16, 2008

KAREN AN-HWEI LEE Reviews

BOX OF LIGHT / CAJA DE LUZ by SUSAN GARDNER

[A] colorful volume of eloquent Spanish and English poems…. Gardner is an artist of atmosphere. Her style is unpretentious, austere, yet various…. The geometry of her transparencies bring to mind lex parsimoniae, or the law of parsimony…. Gardner’s syllables, round as stream pebbles, are reminiscent of Albert Einstein’s paraphrase of Occum’s razor: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” … The lovely cousinship of two languages — Spanish and English … resonate with others in rich harmonic overtones…. The musical vowels of her poetry give us a quiet assurance… each word hovering in its own luminous space.
-– Karen An-Hwei Lee, poet, Santa Ana, California

TO INHABIT THE FELT WORLD

To-Inhabit-COVER-7.5x9-webcopy

“With… awareness and wisdom, ‘To Inhabit the Felt World’ is a fine addition to contemporary poetry collections, recommended.” Midwest Book Review, February 13, 2013

Susan Gardner’s spare but urgent collection of poems, To Inhabit the Felt World, is “the roar of alive”

I don’t believe I have ever read lines of such ferocity, honesty and pain. Yet Gardner continues, observes, listens, “fog drips on a forest mouse/ somewhere near a song.” grows, creates,

Hand circles inside black boundary,

water reflects from black surface

ink blackens

marbles over inkstone

slowly, slowly  readies itself for the brush.

And she opens herself to pasiion, “ the body of one/ raging with joy/ against the surface of the other.” “Not the thickness of a thread is between us… nothing between us but this hour.”

To Inhabit the Felt World is a remarkable collection by a remarkable poet/panter/photographer.

– Elizabeth Raby, poet, author of  INK ON SNOW