The Holding Hours
- PUBLISHED: September 2015
- SUBJECT LISTING: Literature / Poetry
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 88 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- SERIES: Pacific Northwest Poetry Series
- ISBN: 9780295995076
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Emotion, raw and unadorned, is woven through the poems of Christianne Balk's The Holding Hours. Part I explores the subtle and surprising transformations that come from caring for her young, neurologically injured daughter. Insights unfold in metaphor and persona below the surface of an exquisitely observed life.
Gazing through the lens of other lives challenged by disability and illness, including those of John Muir and the 16th-century Saint Germaine Cousin, these poems place personal experience in the context of pastoral poetic traditions, disability studies, and the history of political disruption.
Balk anchors these meditations within the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. She examines her (and our) relationship with nature—the moon snail, the azalea, snow geese, the dog rose—sing the precise and unsentimental language of a trained naturalist. The sounds and images evoked reveal a stunning artistry—a mediation between self and the world and a celebration of the beauty and fragility of life and the anticipation of rebirth.
Authors & Contributors
Christianne Balk is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Bindweed and Desiring Flight. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker, the New Republic, and the Atlantic. She lives in Seattle, where she writes and teaches creative writing. She travels frequently into the Cascade Mountains.
Caught between the naturalist’s way of knowing the names of things and the poet’s way of loving their nameless essences, Balk writes with precision and care about the hunger for the sacred that lies in all things. Hawkweed, Husqvarna, a disabled shepherdess, and John Muir’s fever dwell here in a brilliant array of forms. A book to savor and celebrate.- Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit
Grief and beauty. Page by page, we’re pulled into ecosystems of the heart more deeply than the clear surface of these poems leads us to expect. And that’s the triumph of this book, for me: how clarity and restraint and the poet/biologist’s precise vision can hold so much.- Linda Bierds, series editor
It’s always a pleasure—a delight, actually—when a book makes its claim on our attention—admiration, actually—within the first few pages, and that is exactly what happened as I read The Holding Hours. With the beautiful, unsentimental clarity of a trained naturalist, Christianne Balk traces her daughter’s maturing in and against the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, which she also loves. The Holding Hours is a superb achievement.- Andrew Hudgins, author of A Clown at Midnight: Poems