reviews of Water Loves its Bridges

Comments by gillian harding-russell on one of the publications in Series Twenty-four from The Alfred Gustav Press, December 2020 (with more responses to come):

In “Water Loves Its Bridges,” Pearl Pirie uses the epistolary haibun to explore her loss and the nature of her relationship with her father, not so much in retrospect as in the spirit of his presence, most effectively. The poems reminisce about scenes from the past at the farm where she grew up and during travel with her father. Such a detail as the daughter understanding her father’s partiality to “Scotch eggs” is balanced against her hurt acceptance of her father’s stereotypical view of gender that was a reflection of the times when he lived. Her father’s remorse at accidentally killing a kitten when he slams a truck door and his exhausted self coming in after long hours of fence repair to criticize his family watching TV from California work to create a real-life portrait of the man. Pirie’s format, using colloquial meditation that includes homely and often sensual detail, followed by haiku, works powerfully to lift commentary about the everyday to something almost transcendent. The matter-of-fact and bluff tone in the prose parts contrasts well with the slender elegance and moments of emotion marked by the haiku. Consider this haiku on her father’s funeral that comes after her blunt complaint that she is “done with funerals”: “carnation scent/her face clammy/clammed up.”

Comments on the Series Twenty-four chapbooks from The Alfred Gustav Press, December 2020, by Peter Christensen:

“I tore open my package in anticipation of reading the new publications and was richly rewarded; I learned something from each poet. What a beautifully written and interesting set of publications: Pirie’s careful, casual stories framed by haiku, intriguing and revealing; Wayman’s celebration of rural place, one cannot help but be there; I know Rempel’s Buckhorns too well, these places forgotten by progress. I admire Braun’s moving poem, “After the world had passed away…the plough drawing the furrows still unearths old bones.” Wonderful!Congratulations all and The Alfred Gustav Press for doing a great job of recognizing the universal in the ordinary, for providing a place for these true voices to speak.”

Comments on Series Twenty-four from The Alfred Gustav Press, December 2020, from Leona Gom:

“Pirie’s unsent letters to her father: I like her choices of memories, the eloquent summary of her father and uncle interacting in “White Noise.” Ah, we knew so many fathers like that. “