River, Amen - Signed
River, Amen reclaims religious rituals and resurrects them in the wilderness. What emerges is a deliberate dialogue with rivers, a celebrative creed for rewilding post-industrial landscapes. This immersive, restorative collection offers a new language for understanding our place in relation to the living world and a prophetic warning that we separate the physical and spiritual at our own peril.
These poems pour and course, riffle, pool, and eddy. Garrigan is a poet alive to the mysteries of rivers, to dark days as well as light, to spirit and desire and human complication. “We are,” he writes, “maps of each other.” Like a mountain creek, this book sings.
- Joe Wilkins, author of Thieve and When We Were Birds
“The river sings most beautifully when you are there to listen,” Michael Garrigan tells us in the very first poem of River, Amen, and listen he does, show up he does, on every subsequent page, to examine and translate that song with skill and devotion. Like mountain streams coming together, Garrigan deftly braids the lenses of poet, prophet, and fisherman into a single singing thread. He takes to heart the words of that great acolyte of nature before him, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and lets what he looks hard at look hard back at him – and then at us, demanding our holy attention. Garrigan props open the window of his practice, a practice of worshiping the world and the word, of casting out in search of “the balance of being” on the water and on the page. The result is this “reclamation song,” a fierce, stirring, urgent, tender, visceral, much-needed book that calls like the voice in the wilderness, demanding that we save that which is still good, raw, and wild in our lives and in our selves.
- Corrie Williamson, author of The River Where You Forgot My Name
Like a true convert of nature and member of the church of possibility, Michael Garrigan’s poems remain poised and present for the next fecund turn of heart and mind that waits around the bend. River, Amen is a fine and faithful book, tracking what could connect us across “shared syllables of existence.”
- Geffrey Davis, author of Night Angler and Revising the Storm