The Poet’s Garage by Terry Tierney
The Poet’s Garage by Terry Tierney is a provocative poetry collection enriched by deep images that refuse to remain static. Poems begin with epiphany-esque imagery only to morph into something radically new. Readers may begin a poem at Dairy Queen only to find themselves witnessing the implications of homelessness. Tierney weaves through poems with lucid metaphor, tinted lenses (which are not rose-colored), and painful memories made beautiful through language. The Poet’s Garage is an invaluable addition to the canon of California poetry.
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Terry Tierney Reads Two Poems
Listen to an Excerpt
Tierney offers a multitude of spaces in The Poet’s Garage where different generations operate the tools they work with and preserve the memories and images of their lives: garages, attics, gardens, fields, boxes, and the water’s edge. In these spaces the poet reveals objects that resonate like lost memories whose existence becomes the palpable language and words—the very tools—of poetry. Tierney’s images--“Highway, wet, black / as cancer when it hits”—are powerful and precise, as they unify and divide into something that is always surprising and compelling.
--Jeffrey A. Portnoy, Professor of English, Perimeter College of Georgia State University, and Former Associate Editor, The Chattahoochee Review
The Poet’s Garage, Terry Tierney’s debut collection is, like most garages, a wild mashup. Loss, patch-ups and re-building are the themes that stitch this collection together. In compact lines and gorgeous prose poems, Tierney speaks to what it is to be an observer, a recorder and a player all at once. From the “The Museum of Personal History”: “You clutch your memories like relics of saints/And snarl at me when I come too close.” Life is treacherous. Owning good tools helps. The Poet’s Garage reports on the breakage and repairs of assumptions and plans as only a skilled poet can.
--Joan Gelfand, poet and author of You Can Be a Winning Writer.
I love how Tierney’s poems shape-shift, capturing the elusive, slippery quality of reality: “I am both smaller and larger, older and younger,/ a mechanic and a smith. Look in the garage....” The Poet’s Garage is a rich repository of life in all its facets: old men’s stories, a lover’s scent, wet saplings, broken bottles, disappointments, aging. As poetry should, these poems awaken us to the aliveness and resonance of ordinary moments.
--Dorothy Wall, author of the poetry collection Identity Theory. She has taught poetry and fiction writing at San Francisco State University and U.C. Berkeley, Extension, and works as a writing coach in Oakland.
Terry's poetry has a clear, simple narrative thread, imbued with imagery that's tight, fresh, and surprising. It triggers readers to reconsider their own narratives, be it the thoughts they had when they last painted a house, recalled the smell of a particular flower, or listened to the sounds of an old house late at night. Terry's poetry is rich with images that evoke all the senses. His book invites us to not just read the poetry but to engage with it, to be delighted by his--and our own--revelations.
--Stewart Florsheim, poet and author of A Split Second of Light and The Short Fall From Grace