In a West Branch Wired review of The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home, Janice Harrington is compared to late political poet Adrienne Rich, for her concern with "how the intersection of the personal and political engenders human dignity." Rich made her mark by adopting "increasingly radical forms in order to better advocate for the disenfranchised." According to the review, The Hands of Strangers shares a "commitment" that Rich also adhered to: "the shattering of a particular kind of silence." "Winding through nursing homes' sanitized rooms and hallways, The Hands of Strangers makes a study of women and men transformed by age ... The primarily narrative collection isn't only a memorial to the wards' ailing residents, ... but pays equal tribute to their bedside attendants: simultaneously an ode to labor and elegy for the elderly, one of the collection's primary tensions is the frailty of human dependence." Harrington becomes an advocate for those who remain unheard, by giving them voices through her poetry. "...What The Hands of Strangers gives its subjects are the gifts of time and acknowledgment. Harrington's collection also brings into light those so often relegated to shadowy existence between hospital beds and wheelchairs. It's true that the poet doesn't shy away from the ward's difficult facts and realities ... Yet, The Hands of Strangers also makes clear that suffering ushers forth the possibility of redemption. Throughout the book, there's ample evidence of lives well-served and lived." Click here to read the full West Branch Wired review. To order Harrington's The Hands of Strangers, visit the BOA Bookstore.
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