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.


Impressions of a Seeker A Review of Lifted to the Wind by Ken Hada


Impressions of a Seeker


Lifted to the Wind: Poems 1974 – 2015 by Susan Gardner

Red Mountain Press, 2015


Susan Gardner’s latest book feels special to the touch. The texture of the cover and the following pages, displaying imagistic poems and supplemental ink paintings and calligraphy, effectively move the reader to contemplate the glory of the natural world as well as everyday.


Gardner’s poems draw on her wide-ranging travels and her knowledge of several world cultures and religions. 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.

Her work connects readers to a poetic tradition that endures despite the limits of time and the restraints of language and society.

-Ken Hada, author of Persimmon Sunday

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

LIFTED TO THE WIND Poems 1974 – 2015


A book of new and selected poetry to be published in spring 2016.

A book of new and selected poetry to be published in spring 2016.


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

TO INHABIT THE FELT WORLD Nominated for da Vinci Eye Prize

The photograph is from the WaterLight series.

The photograph is from
the WaterLight series.



I’m honored that my new book TO INHABIT THE FELT WORLD has been nominated as a finalist for the da Vinci Eye prize for cover art. The cover image is from my WaterLight series.

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.




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.





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




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


Waiting: Fall

Waiting: Fall


For Love of Red


Red silk wet on pine needles.

Maple and sumac glimmer red against the road

neither red as the red wool blanket

in my blue room.



Coyote families sing to each other in the dusk

sun flares redden mountains

sky blue as lapis lazuli

until moonless black night uncovers stars.





Cold Blue



blue scraps of sky

crack out clouds


dull winter ground

rigid brown



snow we’ve longed for




clouds bank black against less black mountains

flying snow crosses dusky sun

fractured into winter rainbow


Red Twig


Morning fog lifts its wet weight

red twig shines

in remembrance.


Clouds in a prism of urgency

rush to the sea


An insect passes

lost in last summer’s litter.


night draws each body

over moonless horizon


Jupiter rises

stars overwhelmed

orbit toward dawn








shapeless quiet slides over the roof

colors hide

in deepening dusk

rain channels bark


fog drips on a forest mouse

somewhere near      a song

Atlantic Flight

Atlantic Flight




sky snow


scumbled over the landscape

undulates under blue clouds


late sun




half the spectrum broken

over the roiled  surface


defined by ivory-black ribbons

of frozen rivers


no bird dares the winter sky


this titanium cylinder

radiant in the stratosphere


flies high in the face of sense.



Box of Light ~ Caja de Luz

Box of Light


At six in the afternoon

the air is heavy with sun

filled with intimations of the coming evening

still holding a lovely light


A motionless moment


I put my memories of the future

in this box of light.


Caja de luz


A las seis de la tarde

el aire está pesado de sol

lleno de insinuaciones de la noche que se acerca

sostiene todavía una luz feliz


Un momento inmóvil


Pongo mis recuerdos del porvenir

en esta caja de luz.