Garber debuts memoir

Jun 09, 2018
Elizabeth Garber

Belfast poet and acupuncturist Elizabeth Garber’s debut memoir, “Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter,” will be released June 12. She will present and sign the book Tuesday, June 19, at Shakespeare & Co. in New York City; and Wednesday, June 20, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass.

The local launch is set for Friday, June 22, at 7 p.m. at the First Church, 104 Church St., hosted by the nearby Left Bank Books. Copies of “Implosion” will be available for purchase at the bookshop beginning June 12 and at the church on the evening of Garber’s talk.

Garber’s father was visionary architect Woodie Garber and, as a young girl growing up in Ohio in the 1950s and ‘60s, Garber thought he was the most charismatic man in the world. The entire family helped build Woodie’s dream house, filled with Eames furniture, abstract sculptures and Dave Brubeck records on the hi-fi.

But behind that gleaming facade, Woodie was controlling, volatile, belittling and, eventually, abusive to his wife, two sons and daughter Elizabeth. By the early 1970s, when culture wars and race riots reached Cincinnati — and when Garber started dating an African-American student at her high school — Woodie’s racism emerged. His deepening mental illness and abuse splintered the family and, coupled with unexpected problems with his design of a glass tower dormitory at the University of Cincinnati, the Garber family was eventually torn apart.

An early review of “Implosion” in Architectural Record notes that Garber, “a poet, acupuncturist, and mother, has, like an architect — ecologically using salvage materials — taken the shock and trauma of [her] family’s disintegration and built from them a powerful narrative you are reluctant to leave.”

Garber is the author of three books of poetry, and three of her poems have been read on NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac.” She was awarded writing fellowships at Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. She studied in the Mythology and Folklore Department at Harvard, received a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins, an MFA in Creative Non-fiction from University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Masters Program and a master’s in acupuncture from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute.

Doors will open at the First Church at 6:30 p.m. Although ample seating is available (no reservations are necessary), the staff of Left Bank Books would appreciate an email (leftbank@myfairpoint.net) or phone call (338-9009) letting them attendance. The event is free of charge.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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