H is for Harry, the third book of poetry from Susan Sink, is a tightly woven collection of poems on a variety of subjects, including divorce and remarriage, the role of language and literature in life, and the ways in which language contributes to identity.
The title poem explores the author’s first encounter with language, namely the letter “h,” which comes to mean things in the real world, like Helen Keller’s first apprehension of the word “water” spelled into her hand. The poems take place in a variety of American landscapes, the Atlantic coast of her childhood vacations and the more foreboding Pacific of adulthood. She takes us on a long bike ride through the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the hills of Northern California, asserting a “self” into the many-storied places she lives, “from sea to shining sea.” There is delight in the life and in the language, as the narrator of the poems finds her way in and out of marriages and seeks a way to integrate the experiences- even going so far as to put “the two husbands” together in a poem. These poems are deeply rooted and wildly generous, like the dazzling litany that describes the author’s large vegetable garden, a celebration of sustenance and abundance reflecting the collection itself.
Susan Sink was a Resident Scholar at the Collegeville Institute during the 2005/06 academic year. She is the author of three books of poems, H is for Harry and The Way of All the Earth, and Habits, a collection of 100-word stories about the lives of Benedictine Sisters. She is also the author of three volumes and a collected edition of The Art of The Saint John’s Bible.