Wings in Time by Callie Garnett

Wings in Time by Callie Garnett

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Callie Garnett's first full-length collection of poems, Wings in Time, is a book one watches as much as reads. Whether it be her memories of browsing now-extinct video stores, the tender lessons learned from children's public television (Garnett's mother is a long-time writer for Sesame Street), a student job at a CD & record shop, or Zoom meetings during quarantine back in her parents' home, the four sections of this book nod toward media's shifting formats and mirror the coming of age of the poet herself. Garnett's experiences and evocations have here been transcribed, recorded, rewound, shared and edited over emails, and nearly float contextless, full of the desire to touch the immaterial and the dematerialized.

 

Reading Wings in Time reminds me of wandering, when I was young, through the aisles and alcoves of my local video rental store: a menagerie-slash-kaleidoscope of scintillating titles and seductive images. And there was also, as there is with Garnett’s poetry, something vertiginous, forbidden, even scandalizing, about what was being offered—the possibility of being thrown, by desire, and by a simple choice, into an awakening from which there could be no return. Wings in Time has brought—keeps bringing—me back, to all of that. It is poetry as the exhilaration of browsing and submitting to the inexhaustible medium of life, all living drama.   —Brandon Shimoda

The title poem of this remarkable collection describes an encounter between two women that I can't stop thinking about. ‘Mother? I thought, / Teacher? / Girlfriend? / Lawyer? / Crone?” What are we to each other? I feel myself suspended in these poems between intimate attachments and mediated encounters. Sharp and funny, willfully messy, and brilliantly musical, Wings In Time goes against whatever dogma says don't write about the present, veering instead into the undone metronome of quarantine time as it unfolds onscreen, in conversation, with obsessions that defy categorization. I'm convinced on pretty much every point: the forehead is a kind of notebook just as poetry is a kind of fermentation, niceness can become a kind of sickness and living is a form of speech. Did I mention that Garnett has got gender's number? She really does. I love this book. —Stephanie Young

Wings in Time reads like a memoir of mysteriously enforced self-questioning, by which mechanism a life is revealed. But no, it doesn’t read like a memoir at all, so much as the book the woman in ‘Hospitality’ would find were she ‘not barred from snooping // into any of the Wings / of human experience.’ It is a precisely recorded, remarkably well written, and excitingly well structured debut. —Shane McCrae

 

Callie Garnett is the author of the chapbooks Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (Ugly Duckling Presse) and On Knowingness (The Song Cave). Her poems have appeared in the PEN Poetry Series, the Poetry FoundationNo TokensThe Recluse, and elsewhere. She works as an Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing. Wings in Time is her first full-length poetry collection.

 

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