Fulcrum: Selected Poems
by Irene O’ Garden
ISBN 9-788182-500860 pp.90 2017 Hardcover Demy
Praise for Irene O’Garden’s Work
Sparkling musicality, deep emotion and discerning reflection distinguish O’ Garden’s poems. Here is a fine intelligence at work—and at play—revealing a tonic perspective in a range of poetic expression, including lyric, narrative and her own innovative “fulcrum” forms. Her close observation and sensual delight in language make “Fulcrum” an experience both grounding and uplifting.
“Bewitching…astounding…heartbreaking” — New York Times
“For many years now, the poet, playwright, and memoirist Irene O’Garden has been a hero to me. I think of her as a walking, writing, beam of light… numberless others will come to know her gifts and, most of all, her captivating talent for wonder and marvel.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“Lush imagery…poetry set to the life cycle of nature.”
Distinguished American poet and playwright, Irene O’ Garden’s poetry has found its way to stage, e-screen, hardcover, literary magazines, anthologies and now, her first collection. Her critically acclaimed play Women On Fire, (Samuel French) played sold-out houses at Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre and was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award. O’Garden won a Pushcart Prize for her lyric essay “Glad To Be Human,” (Untreed Reads) Harper published her memoir Fat Girl (Untreed Reads, e-form) and her poems and essays have been featured in dozens of literary journals and anthologies. O’ Garden founded The Art Garden, a performing literary magazine which she produced and hosted for twenty-five years. She now contributes to the spoken word event 650-Where Writers Read, in New York City and Sarah Lawrence College. Irene is also a Poetry Educator with the Hudson Highlands chapter of the national River Of Words program, connecting children to nature via poetry and art.
Praise for Irene O’Garden’s Fulcrum.
Fulcrum is a stunning assessment of human life on the planet, a requiem of the mutant seasons when ‘wind steals/the juices from our eyes/our land cracks open / with an unrequited love ‘and ‘our mountains are on fire.’
Experimental, theatrical and engaging, these poems are like molten lava of our minds, ‘a single stinging tear,’ a howl of every heart, a garland of ‘offered images’ on the altar of life, ‘funeral of funerals themselves,’ and a song of ‘American shame (that) brings us to our knees.’
This is a newer version of The Waste Land, a metaphoric pyramid of natural elements whose admirations ‘blooms like fruit,’ a casebook of the wounds of life and the wisdom you draw out of them. Like splinter of a stone that the poet once stepped on never came out, the poems once read will become part of you and help you ‘know the knowing that we know.’
–Yuyutsu Sharma, Himalayan Poet, author of Quaking Cantos; Nepal Earthquake Poems and A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems
The poems in Irene O’Garden’s new book, Fulcrum, illustrate the importance and vitality of poetry in our daily lives. Beautiful imagery, powerful emotions, simplicity, complexity and thought provoking subjects – all drawn from relatable life experiences – make reading her work a journey of discovery and reflection by focusing on what it means to live a life of passion and wonderment. Like the author herself, the poems in these pages inspire and draw one in. This is a beautiful collection.
—Professor Jane Kinney-Denning of Pace University, President of Women’s National Book Association
“Somewhere between Wordsworth and Dylan Thomas but soaring on her own wings, Irene O’Garden flies high, taking language to new strata with effortless-appearing dips and ascents which made me gasp. Every line could be a poem in itself. I often thought of the “green fuse of life” as nature and color combine in indescribable but absolutely recognizable ways.”
—Laura Shaine Cunningham, best-selling memoirist (Sleeping Arrangements and A Place in the Country) and frequent NY Times contributor.
An immersion into what we relish, how we live, a kind of shining beacon that doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff…Highly recommended.
– Janet Pierson, Producer SXSW Film Conference and Festival
In a far-ranging and elegant suite of poems, Irene O’Garden balances a galaxy of incommensurates on the fulcrum of a disciplined intelligence. “I am a blueprint of Herbert-like sacred meditation, the latter in a narrative about being chased by a bull. Her technique suggests influences ranging from Donne to Bishop, from Frost to Moore. Soulful and rewarding, these poems remind us that “We’re not made of matter but of mattering.”
—T.R. Hummer, whose poems appear in The New Yorker, Best of American Poetry, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, and twelve volumes of his own.
Having delighted in and been enlightened by Irene’s eloquent human poetics for over two decades, I was kind of shocked when she told me this was her first published poetry collection. I couldn’t quite believe it. Then I checked all her warmly gifted and gratefully shared titles on my bookshelf and yes, indeed, this was her first poetry collection.
And thus, Fulcrum, where we all balance and “blossom like a love-mussed bed.” Like “a wound in the noon of a life.” Language hinging on voice. Voice on the cyclone currents of our aches and pains. Our joy and promise. The realization that “I sing a thanking song.” And “caress creation’s verbs.”
– – Mike Jurkovic, curmudgeon poet, VP, Calling All Poets