The poems in Unhinged open wide the doors between love and loss, past and present, life and death. Charde teaches us that to study any subject is to reckon with its opposite: how she can choose the commitment of marriage, while wanting “to keep moving”; how she honors the loss of her son, a grief that still shouts “like the emperor peonies/ burning red in [her] garden,” while also wanting “to lasso [her] life to a more merciful anchor”; how she faces her own mortality, thanking death for giving her “singularity, a kind of dignity” exactly when she is “learning to love the fire” of life. Charde’s honesty is disarming: here, grief is not melodramatic but intimate—these poems teach us that to let grief open us we must let it lead us beyond what›s static, standard, or finite. Only then can we claim the hard-earned understanding that “the life [we] have is/ the one worth living in.
Sharon Charde is not only a poet. A family therapist, a former shaman-in-training, a volunteer writing teacher to delinquent girls in a residential treatment facility, a minimally competent carpenter and devoted yoga practitioner, she is a veteran of fifty-five years of marriage to the same man. Her life as wife, mother and grandmother informs her poems as well as a memoir that will come out next year. She has been published widely in literary journals, including Poet Lore, Upstreet, Rattle, Calyx and Ping Pong, and has one full-length poetry collection, Branch In His Hand, as well as four prize-winning chapbooks and many award-winning poems. Four Trees From Ponte Sisto, an hour-long radio drama shaped from her poems was broadcast by the BBC in 2012. She currently continues to teach the women’s writing retreats she developed twenty-five years ago and has been leading ever since. Charde has been awarded fellowships to The Corporation Of Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center For The Creative Arts and Vermont Studio Center.