A Walk Through the Memory Palace, by Pamela Johnson Parker, was the first-place winner of qarrtsiluni‘s 2009 poetry chapbook contest, selected by Dinty Moore. Read the full details at the announcement post.

A Walk Through the Memory Palace was simultaneously published in electronic form here; in a print edition published in collaboration with Phoenicia Publishing in Montreal; and in a qarrtsiluni podcast. Audio players also accompany each poem (if you can’t see them, you need to download Flash). Thanks to audio engineer Matt Markgraf for the recording and Harvey Parker for supplying the second voice in Pamela’s reading.


(30 minutes, 27 MB)

Praise for A Walk Through the Memory Palace

“The language is textured, clear, and sometimes disquieting, the images both sensory and sensual, and each line crafted with painstaking care. Whether writing about rich gardens, sagging breasts, or the ink of a tattoo, this poet sees through the obvious to something radiant on the other side, painting a startling portrait of an intimate world. Not a wasted word here: the nouns are like gemstones.”
Dinty Moore, editor of Brevity magazine and author of Between Panic and Desire

“Simultaneously spry and mournful, watchful and painstakingly aware of eros, beauty and intimacy and the many ways in which the passage of time threatens all three. Pamela Johnson Parker’s diction is one of rich textures and musical chimes, all the while a sad minor key plays in the background. Most of all, I admire these poems for their attentiveness, their descriptive and narrative patience, and the steady loving voice in which they are written.”
—Daniel Anderson, author of January Rain and Drunk in Sunlight

“A testament to the moment when eros hovers on the edge of elegy, when the intensity of desire blossoms into its own loss. Similarly, Pamela Johnson Parker deftly keeps her reader hovering between delight and sorrow with her formal mastery and keen, compassionate eye. The sensual precision of these poems is achingly — almost unbearably — beautiful.”
Nicky Beer, author of The Diminishing House

“Beneath the elegant surfaces of the poems… courses the transient nature of love and human desire, that complex twining of the elegaic and the ecstatic. Vivid, lush, and exact, Pamela Johnson Parker’s poetry ripples with a rich sensuality. One poem’s description of a Billie Holiday song feels metapoetic: cool water poured // To the top, brimming, / Then spilling silver. Reader, lift these poems to your lips and drink.”
Brian Barker, author of The Animal Gospels

See the Reviews category of the News blog for more reader reactions.