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Branch in His Hand Paperback – 30 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Backwaters Press (30 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193521800X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935218005
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,153,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sharon would reply, 'One dead son, one living'...

I first came across Sharon Charde on Radio 4, when I listened to the drama `Four Trees down from Ponte Sisto', which was adapted and composed for radio by Geoffrey Whitehead. Produced by Jeremy Mortimer it was hauntingly, beautifully read by the accomplished actress, Anne Undeland. Anne had lived in Rome during the 1980's and so brought an extra, personally related, knowledgeable depth to her narration. The quality of what I was hearing in my kitchen through an old set, enchanted and horrified me at the same time. It reached out and stopped me in my tracks. Sharon's son Geoffrey was studying in Italy, his parents had just been out so visit him there, when he was found, dead, on the banks of the river Tiber. He was a gilded youth, and as they say, the good die young. Daring to put into words the unbelievable truth of loss, Sharon has drawn out of her grief the pure essence of her experience, in the hope of helping others and creating a memorial for Geoffrey. Seeking to explain the unexplainable, as this was an unexpected death, one that came out of nowhere.

Hearing the series of poems, accompanied by strange, poignant, sometimes discordant music created especially for them, truly moved me deeply, I will never forget the experience. I searched for further information and read about the creation of the drama. These recordings are, at the time of writing, are still accessible on the official Sharon Charde website. They deserve several hearings. Best absorbed privately, quietly and thoughtfully.

I had to have the book and sent away for it immediately. Sharon Charde wrote the poems/prose pieces over several decades; each sentence was distilled through layers of icy pain.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
....but well worth the reading and contemplating at a time of loss. Unforgettable.Losing someone has far reaching consequences and the story these poem tells really demonstrates that.
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By lynne clements on 17 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sublime and Raw 24 Mar. 2009
By Rachel Eliza Griffiths - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Sharon Charde's last poem, "The Gift", is one of my many favorites in "Branch In His Hand". Its visceral tension, its suggestion of impossibility, its awareness of brutality, however sweet or numbing, however beautiful or unimaginable, is evocative of the book as a whole. Raw, but always superbly crafted, Charde insists upon presence. At each stanza, each line, each break, each rhythm, she resists the passage of an easy sentimental ship. She has captured and articulated a stratum of grief that is unbearable and she has made it bearable. The poems don't permit you to waver, for an instance, from the precision of her pen. Read ""Choosing My Son's Cemetery Plot, "Before the Funeral", "Vita Nuova", or "Wedding". Her poems wade in the darkest waters of the heart without drowning. They may even teach us how to breathe while being utterly submerged. Poems such as these must be spoken, must be felt, acutely, through every limb. Electric, the clarity within breaks me open, with each reading. Reading this collections of poems once is not enough. If you're afraid of lightning and mosquito bites this book may not be for you. But if, like so many of us you have lost loved ones or are haunted by this fear, this truth, Branch In His Hand may offer you companionship for survival.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Common Ground, Common Words 22 Jan. 2009
By Charles A. Hubbard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A friend gave me Branch in His Hand for Christmas. The first time I scanned it, it gave me a nightmare about my child almost dying, almost dying, almost dying, year after year. But when I took the time to read it slowly I had the feeling that Sharon Charde and I had written it together; that she chose the same words I would have chosen in many, many instances. The same week I read the current issue of the Southern Review from LSU Baton Rouge, and had the opposite feeling--that I didn't know what the poets were writing about or why they'd written. Sharon writes for the same reason I do, to document and share her perception and response to an event in the most spare and elegant way. In general I think the trend is for poems to be more readily understandable now; but there are plenty of poets who prefer obscurity. Beats me why. I treasure this collection of poems that I can understand about grief that I understand. Sally Hubbard
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"All changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born."-Yeats 11 Dec. 2008
By John M. Malone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Like a bright, shining Phoenix, reborn in the flames of its own funeral pyre, this new collection of Sharon Charde's poems tells the tragic story of her son's death and how it changed her life. Reading it has changed mine too. I have a new favorite poet.
My review copy arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon. After supper and a Netflix movie with my wife, Christa, I started to read it in bed, thinking it would help me to sleep. An hour or so later as I came to the last page, I was deeply moved by the power, honesty and beauty of this work, still wanting to read more.
This morning, not fully trusting my own enthusiasm (I'm known as the "token male" author on the Senior Women website) I asked Christa - the mother of five and grandmother of eight - to take a look at the book and give me her own, authentic senior woman's take on it. She said she was awfully busy but agreed to open it and sample a couple of the poems. I went out to an appointment, and when I returned later, she told me that she, too, had been unable to put the book down until she had read every one of the poems. I challenge any reader to "sample" this wonderful collection without wanting to read it right to the end.
While some of the poems first appeared in other publications, the five chapters in which Sharon Charde has now arranged them create a seamless whole for the reader. She tells us what her family was like before; what happened on May 8, 1987; how, over the following fifteen years, it transformed them all, especially her; and how she now comes to terms with life and death, both her son's and her own.
To say much more than this would be pretentious on my part. Christa and I both loved this book, and we hope many others will also.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unflinching. 6 Feb. 2009
By Maria T. Nazos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the first adjective that comes to mind when reading ANY of Charde's poems. Unflinching. Charde's elegy to her son remains a fierce allegiance to lyricism. And it hovers in the air like a persistent bubble that refuses to be popped; that and her use of paradox, her wielding of grief, her refusal to shun passion, which lamentably certain poems of today do. A Branch In His Hand provides a refreshing alternative to those poems that are either confessional kleenexes or oblique GRE vocabulary quizzes. This book is neither. If it is confessional, there is a screen with a priest on the other side. If it is oblique, it is rhetorically interrogating of self as though turning on the fluorescent lights of the soul. Read these poems. I dare you. Also, feel free to peruse my poetry blog, with a more lengthy review. See the above link.
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