Pink Moon
by Tina Barr
38 Poems ~ 92 pages
Cover Art
by Aamna Alee
Price: $17.00
Publisher: Jacar Press
ISBN #: 978-0-93681-55-5
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About poetry, no less a luminary that Emily Dickinson said, If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. Warning to readers: Get ready to experience Dickinson’s intrepid aphorism with each turn of the page. Pink Moon will move you, inspire you, and even change you by the wide sweep of its power.


The poems in Pink Moon examine powerlessness over the body as well as in the environment. They explore the Western North Carolina area inhabited by the Cherokee, focusing on local inhabitants and lore, before reaching outward to other geographies: Egypt, Botswana, Ethiopia, India, in patterns of circularity and juxtaposition. Ranging over varying subjects: the Tuskegee experiment, the Ku Klux Klan, sexual and physical abuse, love both transgressive and domestic, familial patterns of incest and greed, Pink Moon uses the environment Tina Barr inhabits, and the virus that inhabits her own body, as bridges to the virus in the body politic. They illuminate the idea of contagion, positing the issues of race, and species extinction as an epidemic.
–Natalie Eleanor Patterson, author of Plainhollow, (dancing girl press, 2022)


Tina Barr’s first book, The Gathering Eye, won the Tupelo Press Editor’s Prize. Green Target won the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize (2018), and Kaleidoscope was published by Iris Press in 2015. Her three chapbooks were all winners of national publication contests, and judge Yusef Komunyakaa said of her work: “Each poem dares the reader.” Barr has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the MacDowell Colony, and elsewhere.


by Tina Barr

These arrowed leaves could be
bamboo, a worry, but dug up
it’s ginger root: white shoots under
ground turn to blades of green. Last
April in my kitchen, tubers sprouted
like potato, so I tucked them into earth.
The raised bed’s heated up; it’s August.
Farley’s wife lifted black tarp
off a raised bed; in hot soil
baby copperheads coiled,
flicked lemon tail-ends, tiny bites
lethal as their mother’s.

A teenager, I went with Jenny,
sourcing her term report, whose
mother knew a head nurse on
the birth ward at Roosevelt, in New
York. Playing student nurses, we
wore gowns, masks, to watch
a woman checked for dilation, stood
six feet away as someone cut, with
scissors, her perineum. Can’t hardly
remember the baby, but afterbirth,
emptied of water and blood,
deflated, veined, trailed a coiled line,
from the telephones of my childhood.

As kids, swimming, jellyfish the size
of cupcakes pumped through our fingers.
Off Cornwall, divers swam beside
a barrel jellyfish twice their size, its
top a gold cap, a tent big enough
to birth a human, frilled purple on its
edges, like rickrack. It trailed pink
ropes: a gelatinous ball gown, its ends
bridal: clear, white as a veil.


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