by Gary Rainford
by Gary Rainford
Gary Rainford’s Adrift is for all of us—for those who’ve suffered family or friends through Alzheimer’s, for those who fear it, for those who will become its victims. It’s for all of us, our inevitable end, however it comes, the human condition. A fine poet’s words of a terrible disease, the pathos of a son caring for his dying mother, consolable as words can be, humor and horror, the reason for words. “Mom; you’ve given me poetry, / Stories, and reasons to // Dream” and now he has given us poetry and stories of her last days. This is a love story.
--SHARON DOUBIAGO, recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry
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I really dig what Gary does here—he plunges into everyday lives and worries, family loves and loss, but he does it with a sweet twist of dialogue, making the person the poem, the words draw out the inner poem in the speaker—they become real to us, become our friends and family and neighbors—no, this guy is Bukowski with manners, Bly with straight-up male sensitivity, he’s nature, best compared to a river or snow storm or summer rain, there ain’t too many doing what he’s doing in poetry, no elitist, no snobbish hoopla poet here, no outhouse blah blah blah flotsam that goes along with all crazy awards and crap poets who know each other give to each other, this is poetry as real as mom’s kitchen, grandpa’s evening meal, Canelo’s (the boxer) defiant adulation of life....must read, it’ll change the way you see potree...(misspell intended).
—JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA, American poet, memoirist, and screenwriter.
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If you want to know what it’s like to care for a parent with dementia, or if you are going through that and feeling alone, Gary Rainford’s Adrift is your book. If you want to understand something of how it feels to lose home and wholeness, these poems convey that heartbreak. But they also convey an indomitable spirit that keeps waking up and facing the unfathomable world. Rainford gives us an exacting account of his care for his mother, and while the process is excruciating, her spirit is feisty, so even as she loses the ability to articulate, she articulates the feeling of losing herself. Rainford has made a book that is stunning and precise in its reckoning with loss, while his commitment to care also makes it quietly heroic.
—BETSY SHOLL, Maine Poet Laureate 2006 - 2011
Gary Rainford, author of Salty Liquor and Liner Notes, lives year-round on Swan's Island with his wife and daughter. Gary is a storyteller who uses poetry to tell stories. Connect with Gary at www.garyrainford.com.