Books/ OUT OF SILENCE
"The poems in Out of Silence are flowers amid the ruins, and lovely ones indeed." —Mike Pride, Concord Monitor
Pamela Harrison’s unsentimental and unsparing portrait of her parents makes Out of Silence a compelling and memorable collection, one that redeems a rich story from silence.
“Half a century ago, with Life Studies, Robert Lowell offered American poetry a whole new climate of thought, a means to write about self, family history, and especially about the deaths of parents, that still sets an immensely high standard. In Out of Silence, Pamela Harrison tries with a keen ear and equally keen self-appraisal to meet that standard. Here is an elegiac poetry of depth, and heartbreak, of the struggle to, as one of her poems puts it, ‘[hear] again the world’s pulse freed from loss.’ This is work that arises from necessity.”
“A young man pays for medical school by scrubbing toilets in buildings his father owned before losing everything in the Depression. A young woman from the plains studies nursing and yearns for a life of beauty and texture. What results when they meet is a love that is adventurous, prideful, destructive, and abiding. In her new collection, Out of Silence, Pamela Harrison goes down into the darkness of her parents’ love story and returns, not with a child’s pity or blame, but with poems that are frank, compassionate, tender and shocking. How rare and how moving to encounter Harrison’s clarity, acceptance, and resolution. She’s the real thing.”
"Although some might call Pamela Harrison a confessional poet, she does not beg us to pity her in the haunting poems of her new book, Out of Silence. She wants to tell us a long-hidden story, and she does so with a captivating and satisfying craft, keeping us always slightly on edge."
--Anne Harding Woodworth, Rain Taxi Review of Books
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"There are links between genres, and Pamela Harrison illustrates this in her volume Out of Silence, which probes the mystery of her parents’ dark love story. It could have been a dark thriller of sorts—instead, as a volume of poems, it’s an excavation, a baring of souls."
--Beth Kanell, Kingdom Books
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"I want the poet to tell me a story. Because the form requires the poet to keep the story short, I want the words to be precise. The poet should help me see by using concrete images. Sound is important. Even while reading a poem silently, I want to hear its music. Above all, I expect genuine feeling in a poem. While I understand that poets lie for the sake of their art, a poem must be honest at the core, truth enhancing the beauty of it. Your ear may be different from mine, your standards more or less stringent than mine, but when I encounter the work of a poet unfamiliar to me, these are the things I seek. Rarely do I find them in such pleasing abundance as I did in Out of Silence, Pamela Harrison’s new book."
—Mike Pride, former Editor, Concord Monitor
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Pamela Harrison reads her work:
"Mom Called Him 'Zeke'"
"Little Curls of Steam"