Monday, May 22, 2023

Nola Garrett

Nola Garrett is a Pittsburgh poet who taught literature and writing for many years at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her books include a collection of sestinas The Dynamite Maker’s Mistress (2009), and The Pastor’s Wife Considers Pinball (2013). In this latter collection she has created the persona of the pastor’s wife, whom she imagines as seperate from herself, and yet in relationship with her. Mayapple Press released Garrett's Ledge: New & Selected Poems in 2016.

She is one of the poets whose work appears in Taking Root in the Heart (2023, Paraclete Press) ― a new anthology, of poets whose work has appeared in The Christian Century, edited by Jill Peláez Baumgaertner. Some of the other featured poets include Brett Foster, Julie L. Moore, Luci Shaw, and Anya Silver.

Nola Garrett has also translated Macedonian poetry, along with her daughter-in-law Natasha Garrett.

The Pastor’s Wife and I

The pastor’s wife does not go out to play.
Outside it is Tuesday—merciless and far
from Sunday. She is all righteous carrots
and earnest potatoes. Sometimes she hurts
me with her notions, makes my shoulders droop,
reminds me that Nola’s dreams are a troupe
of untrained monkeys. She recycles
my prayers, drags me away from dark angels.
But, when her hair grew prim and gray, I made
her dye it brown. Then, she chose our second husband,
a good man given to chills—him, I seduced.
Now, like a gun, she holds her watch
to my ear, forces me to write these poems.
It was I who fed her those wild greens,
a salad cut from the last of my pagan
garden’s rue. Her mouth burns
for benedictions and shooting stars.
Into my mirror she stares, worries
I might disappear—her feral woman—
the woman who met Christ at the well.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.