Irene O’ Garden’s Fulcrum
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 a holy universe” seesaws against “I feel like a set of china”—the former in a 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.
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.
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
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