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Glory Bush and Green Banana, Poems by Pamela Harrison
The elegant evocation of place, and tender recollections of memory, make Pamela Harrison's Glory Bush and Green Banana as crystalline and flawless as an unspoiled sea.
"I was most taken with the tender and heartening sequence, dealing with your year as a teacher in Carriacou. This group of poems [with its] beautiful coherence...sparkles with vibrant humanity...[that] left me feeling as if I had visited that wonderful island with you." -Laurence Lieberman
"Glory Bush and Green Banana is, simply, one of the most beautiful and memorable books of poetry I have read in recent (and not so recent) years. Structured as a memoir or journal narrative of a year spent living and working on the Edenic (and not so Edenic) Caribbean island of Carriacou, the book evokes the often exhilarating and romantic, sometimes oppressive and even terrifying, always engaging and compelling vagaries of island life. In lush and richly textured language, palpably lyrical and symphonic, the poems catalogue the island's rhythms and residents, from its birds and flowers and insects-hibiscus and papaya, bananaquit and tarantula-to its unforgettable people-an 'island saint,' a six-foot-three schizophrenic 'Boy,' a cinnamon bark salesman, a suicide, a stillbirth, a woman who talks with the dead. Immersing the reader in a world of fishermen 'coiled about a rod of muscled concentration,' women 'scrounging food and the wood to cook it,' 'caustic blossoms posing as bugs,/venomous bandits passing as sticks,' Harrison celebrates, with immense affection and utmost respect, an ever-deepening knowledge of 'how much a little is' in 'life's crude, unruly scrawl.' Glory Bush and Green Banana is truly a book of wonders, a wonder of a book." -Ronald Wallace
"The compelling subject here is how we are irrevocably changed when we open ourselves to experience. Harrison's clear-eyed view on a pivotal time in her younger life is not confessional, but rather truth-telling: the culture and inhabitants made vivid and determined in their own right. I admire the steady look and emotional discipline of these poems, how the enterprise of administering to the other' is rendered without sentimentality. As readers, we can wholly imagine Carriacou and admire the strength of its culture. Pamela Harrison's rendering is without hubris: no first-person 'I' dominates these poems. Instead, the accomplishment is one of celebration: to have been changed in how one not only views but lives in the world. These gracefully-accomplished lyric poems show us the way out of self into a greater universe, as the truth of art always strives to do." -Cleopatra Mathis
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Pamela Harrison is a graduate of Smith College and the Vermont College MFA Program in Writing. Winner of the 2002 PEN Northern New England Discovery Poet Award, she was invited to read her poems at the Library of Congress in 2003. Her first full-length collection, Stereopticon, was published by David Robert Books (Cincinnati, 2004). Okie Chronicles followed in 2005. Her third collection, Out of Silence (2009) was cited as one of three notable new books of poetry in the Denver Post's "Book Beat" column. What to Make of It (2012) recounts her adventures with her doctor husband in challenging circumstances in the arctic, Africa, and Central America. Adjunct professor in English Literature for the University System of New Hampshire and in Creative Writing for Dartmouth College, Ms. Harrison has won fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. Ms. Harrison collaborated with her husband, Dr. Dennis McCullough, in the writing of My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing Slow Medicine, the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones (Harper Collins 2008). She is proud grandmother to Kate's two sons, Marcus and Calvin Dennis.
ISBN-13: 9781625492265, 102 pages, $19, softcover