Hallowed: New and Selected Poems by Patricia Fargnoli
by Patricia Fargnoli
Featuring selections from Patricia Fargnoli’s four previous books along with twenty-four new poems.
“The new poems, which begin the volume, offer a syncretic vision of life. Christian hope is balanced here with Buddhist sobriety. Death is everywhere, the hope for survival, for an afterlife is strong, yet there is modesty and realism to her longing……[Fargnoli] brings to her work a steady emotional intelligence.” — Lee Rossi, Pedestal Magazine
Hallowed features selections from Patricia Fargnoli’s four previous books along with twenty-four new poems. Here is a celebration of poetic endurance, filled with quietly distinctive cadences and images closely seen, now freshly understood.
And the morning opens like a blue glory blossom on a vine.
The business conversations of the birds,
chitterings among the low bushes.
I want to be like the depths
beyond the petals where everything is burning.
The song I need to make it through today
falls on my head softly like the smallest pebbles
and keeps me from reaching out in sorrow.
Therefore I sing along and choose
among the many notes.
I want to come back as that ordinary
garden snail, carting my brown-striped spiral shell
onto the mushroom which has sprouted
after overnight rain so I can stretch
my tentacles toward the slightly drooping
and pimpled raspberry, sweet and pulsing —
a thumb that bends on its stalk from the crown
of small leaves, weighed down by the almost
translucent shining drop of dew I have
been reaching and reaching toward my whole life.
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“Reading Fargnoli’s poems, new and old, is like finally receiving a long-awaited letter. Each poem arrives at its own grace, fully realized. Fargnoli’s grief is brave and learned. She writes from and holds for us readers a safe space to bereave. There’s a quality of loneliness in Fargnoli’s work that is impossible to find from anyone else. It is not despair pulled off a shelf and worn, but is a disposition fixed on connecting deeply, spiritually, with the world. This sentiment seems to be the initial mover of each poem, that tug before the first breath, and is therefore a gift, and carried like one.” — Z.G. Tomaszewski, Poetry International
“There will not be a more beautiful book published this year than Patricia Fargnoli’s Hallowed: Selected and New Poems. ‘You have been looking for a reason for your continued existence, / with faith so shaky it vibrates like a plucked wire,’ she writes in the opening poem, ‘To an Old Woman Standing in October Light.’ This astonishing collection offers abundant reason. Gathered from her four preceding books, along with two dozen recent works, her poems speak with gravitas, courage, and tenderness of the soul’s desire to bless, even through grief and physical suffering. . . . Hallowed: what an exquisite addition to the world’s poetry.” —Ann Fisher-Wirth
“Like her recurring images of the ocean, loss and sorrow have always washed through Patricia Fargnoli’s poems, and they do so seemingly with little blame or anger but with a quietly fierce yearning. Fargnoli is less likely to shake a fist at God or fate than she is to gaze intently out her window at the seasons and the ways they not only change the landscapes of the world and of our inner lives, but how we perceive them. In her ‘Dream Sequence,’ one dream tells us we are trying to find directions where ‘all the [streets’] names have to do with dying,’ and don’t appear on any map. Who, being honest with oneself, would not recognize the truth of that metaphor? And yet, driven by a stubborn desire to face if not accept life’s ‘disaster,’ she’s often able to see that ‘it is always there, the spirit behind the suffering.’ These open-hearted poems ponder how much we can take in while we’re here that we can’t take with us when we go, or even hold onto as we age. To ‘search … out again, again’ the simple ‘moments of glory must be enough.’” — Alice B. Fogel
“Patricia Fargnoli’s recent book Hallowed combines new poems with selections from four previous volumes. Although she began studying poetry in her mid-thirties, Fargnoli, now eighty-two, published her first book just twenty years ago. A retired psychotherapist, she brings to her work a steady emotional intelligence. Her poems, even the earliest, display a disarming individuality….The new poems, which begin the volume, offer a syncretic vision of life. Christian hope is balanced here with Buddhist sobriety. Death is everywhere, the hope for survival, for an afterlife is strong, yet there is modesty and realism to her longing.” — Lee Rossi, Pedestal Magazine