Why We Make Gardens
[& Other Poems]
not your grandma's garden poems
Mayapple Press, 2010
Just out! Sarah Wyman's smart critical essay
"Reframing Nature Within the Garden Walls:
Feminist Ecological Citizenship in the Work of
Louise Gluck, Jeanne Larsen, and Anat Shiftan"
in Feminist Formations Vol. 32 (2), Summer 2020
"Densely packed and yet wholly accessible, Why We Make Gardens is a thriving garden of words: Larsen's poems interlace, blossom, and push softly but irrevocably into the mind, sure to return again in subtle and significant ways."
William Wright, James Dickey Review
"Larsen's work captivates with its prismatic look at the word ‘garden,’ revealing all of the intricacies and possibilities of the word."
Renee Emerson, New Pages
"Larsen has to know at least some of her readers, like myself, don't make gardens and that our distance from planting, pruning, weeding, watering is not merely urban. No matter....Why We Make Gardens abounds with such lyricism and in doing so may serve as explanation. We make gardens and poems and art to achieve gentle charms of word and life. Understanding isn't what we're after. We want to return to the garden, don't we, to life without shame, to naked sport, to some sort of innocence (if it was a place we regretted leaving there had to be at least a bit of cunning and teasing. I mean, come on.). And if poetry, and a poet like Jeanne Larsen, can help us make our way, we can count ourselves lucky."
Sarah Sarai, The Rumpus
To read Larsen's Why We Make Gardens is to enter a world where the strata of each poem are enriched by the loam of that first paradisiacal garden. (You know, the one with naked people running a-muck and something about a snake and an apple?) In other words, this is some epic writing. There are layers within layers which reveal that antiquity of garden symbolism and the metaphor of growth is cradled in the vivid images Jeanne brings forth from her own pilgrimage into the actual gardens that prominent poets of the past had tended and/or written about."
M. Moro-Huber, The New York Quarterly
"The poems in Jeanne Larsen's garden of verses are rich with the scents of blossoms familiar and unfamiliar. Her poems are both beautiful and wise, a garden in which to wander again and again with wonder and renewal."
R. H. W. Dillard
"With intelligence, insouciance, with surprise reversals both clever and wise, Jeanne Larsen gives us Why We Make Gardens (& Other Poems). Here are gardens of betrayal and sex, bitterness and refuge Larsen puts all that grows inside thewse beautifully crafted poems."
"Each poem is acute, oblique, precise and complex: hers is an art to wonder at, to savor, to praise."