Fern Carr/Her most recent book of poetry

By CYNTHIA SHARP

Fern Carr  is a former Winnipegger, lawyer, teacher and past President of both the local branch of the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Project Literacy Kelowna Society. A member of the Federation of BC Writers, she is also a Full Member of the League of Canadian Poets and has served as the League’s Poet-in-Residence. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee who composes and translates poetry in six languages including Mandarin.

 

 

Shards of Crystal
By Fern G. Z. Carr
Silver Bow Publishing, 2018
New Westminster BC
Available on Amazon
98 pages

I’ve been a fan of Fern G. Z. Carr’s work for years, whether it’s orbiting Mars or in literary journals throughout the globe. Now to have a whole melodic book of hers to curl up with by the fire under blankets and starlight is a rare winter treat.
Shards of Crystal is elegantly divided into digestible sections. The collection opens with slivers of healed suffering in Carr’s “All in the Mind” poems. Her juxtaposition of the lonely experience of invisible suffering with a profound desire to connect, alludes to a growing humanitarian strength. Titles like “The Elusive Language of Trees” lure readers in.
Carr is the embodiment of poetic precision, unafraid to master any style. In “The Elusive Language of Trees,” words stretch elegantly across the page like graceful ballerina limbs, wide, flowing, upturned, carrying the poem like wings of an eagle. A patient inner power emerges, guiding the reader to light. Carr teaches us to listen deeply, to allow her wisdom to comfort through struggles, as verse brings the contours of suicide, anorexia and dementia into concrete images,
“She puts on yesterday’s clothes
 and wonders what in hell
 she will do with the next
 twenty-four hours.”
“Gone” speaks deeply to natural beauty and peace of mind eroded through violation, as well as what “remains,” how scars wound and leave survivors hidden in daily battles, whether it’s post-traumatic stress disorder or other unseen burdens, the permanence of the damage when a person’s right to safety is ruptured. Carr portrays the intricacy of the shadows that remain so that readers can empathize with real hope based in knowledge, experience and service, a gift of healing to those who have overcome chasms of hidden pain and those who still suffer.
The “Body Language” poems are deftly incarnate, conveying the heartbreak, powerlessness and empathy evoked in the kindness of hospital staff as a loved one undergoes treatments and diagnostics in lines such as,

“… doctors are politely paged
 to rush to the aid of the dying.”

Carr captures a tone of graciousness and helplessness in the face of mortality.
Her empathy extends to animal lives as well. In the “Animalia” section, the collection progresses with sharp imagery that gets inside the reader, bringing the tragic loss of a puppy poisoned with strychnine to light in a way that draws readers all the way in to understand that every life matters, her imagery connecting us with the consequences of intolerance. Carr is a poet who is not afraid to use the whole page, whether it’s a concrete poem or an experimental, rhythmic compilation of fragments.
Poems through the sections, “Relatively Speaking,” “Tomorrow Is Cancelled” and “A Metamorphosis of Darkness to Light” make the ethereal tangible in works like “I Touch a Singing Ghost” and the final “I Am,” the all-encompassing, deep truth of enlightened permission to be. Her solid diction like “entropy” sets us free, strong and grounded, unafraid to speak our truths after journeying with her, harmonizing through

“the essence
 of the eternal
 that thrums
 in a voice
 resonating
 with the musicality
 of stars.”

Shards of Crystal is where precision and compassion meet to leave readers in awe, as brokenness enters light. It’s not a surprise that Carr is highly regarded, not only for her meaningful and skillful poetry, but also for her volunteer work for animal rights, literacy and other humanitarian causes. Carr is a classic poet who will stand the test of time.

Fern Carr has been published extensively worldwide from Finland to Mauritius. Her poetry has appeared in numerous Jewish journals, magazines and anthologies such as Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Poetica – Reflections of Jewish Thought, Outlook: Canada’s Progressive Jewish Magazine, and Voices Israel.

Honours include: being cited as a contributor to India’s Prakalpana Literary Movement; having had her work taught at West Virginia University; having a Juno-nominated musician set her poetry to music and perform it; and an online feature in The Globe and Mail. Carr’s poem, “I Am”, was chosen by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate as Poem of the Month for Canada. Her poetry collection, Shards of Crystal (Silver Bow Publishing, 2018) is available on Amazon. Carr is thrilled to have one of her poems currently orbiting the planet Mars aboard NASA’S MAVEN spacecraft. www.ferngzcarr.com