The Parting Glass: Poems
by Lisa J. Parker
ISBN: 978-1-956440-16-4 paperback $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-17-1 ebook $9.99
Winner of the first annual Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
judged by Jesse Graves.
The Parting Glass, like the old Irish song, is a toast to the places and people who make up the author’s roots and base. However Appalachian at its root, it tells a universal story about what grounds and keeps us, even as we move in cities and circles far from home. At its core, this book brings the thread of downhome with its voices and song, to the cities and cultures the author moves through. The poems raise a glass to those still at the table and to those already gone, to homecomings and deployments, to the navigation of love and grief.
What People are saying a about The Parting Glass:
As haunting as the Irish ballad for which it is named, The Parting Glass is a book of searing elegies and unforgettable odes to moments of joy shared in tranquil places. Whole worlds emerge and collide in these poems, experiences as rich as the black bread offered by the Ukrainian neighbor to the “Hillbilly Transplant” in New York City. Many of us from Appalachia will relate to her fish-out-of-water adventures and heartbreaks, missing family back home but also feeling the electric thrill of subway rides and all-night restaurants. Lisa J. Parker has created a deep and nuanced book that would have made the late Arthur Smith proud, and I cannot imagine a more worthy first entry for the poetry award named in his honor. I have felt tears welling in the corners of my eyes more than once when I come to the lines, “the surreality of that meager box / with its pewter top, your name punched into it.” The Parting Glass offers enormous heart and soul in the face of unbearable grief, survivable only through a sense of belonging to a place and its people and by committing to words those memories that affirm what we have lost. —Jesse Graves, author of Merciful Days and Said-Songs: Essays on Poetry and Place
Lisa Parker possesses the perceptive eye of a photographer and the truth-telling, visionary voice of poet. From the orange trumpet vines and sycamore trees of northern Virginia to the “crushed velvet walls” of the Metropolitan Opera, each precise, wondrous image in The Parting Glass transports the reader. As Parker shows us how to look at these beautiful, sometimes broken, sometimes aching landscapes, she tells an important story about the places we call home, the terrible weight of grief, and love—always love. —Carter Sickels, author of The Prettiest Star
These are poems of loss, displacement, and deep grief, yet they are shot through with light, in particular the illumination that comes with beautiful writing. There is not one wasted word in this moving, intelligent, and timely collection of poems that stand perfectly on their own yet sing even louder as an entire gathering. The Parting Glass is a marvel of a book. —Silas House, NY Times bestselling author of Lark Ascending
Lisa J. Parker’s second book of poetry reads like a personal diary written in controlled, soaring language that leaves an impact for all its emotional clear-sightedness. Read the full review. —Claire Fullerton, for The New York Journal of Books
Lisa Parker is a native Virginian, a poet, musician, and photographer. Her first book, This Gone Place, won the 2010 ASA Weatherford Award and her work is widelypublished in literary journals and anthologies. Her photography has been on exhibit in NYC and published in several arts journals and anthologies. She has worked in the Department of Defense for nearly twenty years, worked as a first responder for 15 years, and currently serves as a crisis and disaster response volunteer with Team Rubicon. Some of her work may be found at www.wheatpark.com.
When we heard from the judges who had won the first Arthur Smith Poetry Prize we offered in 2021 there was a collective “ahhhh Lisa J. Parker!” And all around nodding of heads. She’s well respected among her peers, and rightly so. She faced some tough competition for that prize, too! AND that’s a photo she took on the cover… (artists seem to exell in more than one area around here!)