Books/ WHAT TO MAKE OF IT
"Pamela Harrison braids hard outcomes and beautiful moments." —Baron Wormser, Maine Poet Laureate, 2000-2005
What to Make of It is a tour through personal and external history, tracing the development of a relationship against the backdrop of the later 20th century. Pamela Harrison’s powerful poems give narrative and lyric voice to larger forces, tracing how they intertwine through individual lives.
“This collection gives voice in haunting, acute language to the wages of experience. The tones run a great gamut—from ruefulness to awe to misery to loving joy—but they are all convincing….Pamela Harrison braids hard outcomes and beautiful moments, the nonchalance of the natural world and the yearning of the human one. These poems do not moralize yet they offer genuine, at times profound, lessons from a thoroughly lived life.”
—Baron Wormser, Maine Poet Laureate 2000-06
“In What to Make of It, Pamela Harrison travels with her doctor husband from Canada’s arctic to Central America, and to points far east and west between as they do what she is too modest to name good works…. The collection—whose extraordinary formal suppleness matches it spiritual—shows this affecting author’s genuine maturity…Harrison’s poems see life steadily and whole, including the moving and evolving relationship between…wife and…spouse. The title of the final, wonderful poem might perfectly fit the book’s themes at large: 'Love’s Inventory.'"
—Sydney Lea, Vermont Poet Laureate
“Lusciously descriptive and unerringly musical, Pamela Harrison’s book, What to Make of It, plumbs the depths of how beauty and suffering, fecundity and frailty, the exotic and the intimate, conspire to illuminate nature and culture and our own bruised and bruising human part in their complexities. These poems dive deep, again and again deeper, to express longing for a better world.”
—Barbara Ras, author of The Last Skin
"'I never dreamed how much/ I needed language to sustain myself.' So states Pamela Harrison in one of my favorite poems in this collection that takes a refreshingly honest look at a marriage. I’ve met Harrison two or three times, but I know her really through her poetry. In her earlier book, Out of Silence, I discovered a woman who cries out to reveal the once-secret memories of her childhood. Perhaps I appreciate Harrison as much as I do because I always find something of myself in what she has to say."
--Anne Harding Woodworth
Read the full review in Rattle>