Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines
Poems by Julie Carr, assistant professor of English
Set to the music of rain, these shattered elegies seek communion in the ethereal place between birth and death.
In the wake of a mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and a child’s impending birth, Julie Carr gathers the shards of both mourning and joy to give readers poems that encompass it all: “Zebra and xylophone cyclone and sorrow.” Here she says, “Since I lost her I stored her like ore in my / form as if later I’d find her, restore her,” giving voice to the longing that accompanies life’s most profound losses and its most anticipated arrivals.
“As Carr shuttles among her triple roles as mother, daughter, writer, individual words and phonemes shuttle back and forth like classical melodies.”
“As a reader, I feel included a lot in Julie Carr’s hard and beautiful book. I can pretty much hear its author speak—a whispering that enables us into its world … a masterfully sutured journey, painfully useful. ‘Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines’ is a book I know I will return to. And urge it on my friends who have lives too and write in them.”
—Eileen Myles, National Poetry Series judge
“[Julie Carr’s] lyrical style expresses the complex and often frustrating experience of being human: of constantly thinking, feeling, being, and changing.”
“Carr’s is clearly a voice of tender lyricism and much intimacy, yet it is never obscure.”
“Julie Carr’s harrowing new book is composed of a complex music of grief and fragmentation that illuminates the fragile distance between mothers and daughters. To read ‘Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines’ is to recall once again that memory might just be the singular attribute of being human and that there can be no poetics of daily life that does not confront loss. Such is the domain of love; such is the vocation of poetry.”
“Birth and death elegantly do their pas de deux as daughter and mother in ‘Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines,’ by Julie Carr, who was selected by Eileen Myles for the National Poetry Series. Sarah is the first matriarch in the Torah and her eternity is fused here with our mortality. ‘The body’s a hole through which other bodies move.’ The poems are composed of fragments, lines, and abstracts that leave spaces for the “pillaged language” to make new connections. Lyrically a Contralto, Carr’s music is deeply resounding.”