Critical Commentary

on The Hours I Keep

Zimmerman’s language pops and snaps, surprising at every turn, and sings with a full breath from line to line. Her imagery beautifully renders both nature’s heartbreaking loveliness, it’s redemptive power, and its dangerous, often savage unpredictability. “See how stars are pulled down/ into sunlit river stones…” the narrator of “Gravity” writes, even as she acknowledges that force’s destructive power, how “a rampage,/ disguised as a river, drags earth and rock down.” These are deft, lyrical poems that express the rawest truths with grace and dignity. Zimmerman’s is a universe where horses and dogs are not only faithful companions but vessels of the divine. From escaping the ghost of an alcoholic mother, to finding a rare and passionate love, to the anguish of putting down her favorite mare and her beloved dog, to the self-doubt the narrator experiences, The Hours I Keep resonates with raw honesty, joy, grief, and existential yearning. These are necessary, urgent poems—difficult, wrenching, celebratory and ecstatic by turns.
Ilyse Kusnetz

on The Light at the Edge of Everything

Exquisite lyrics. A brave and lovely book. Deeply human meditations on joy, loss, love, suffering, but never defeat. Zimmerman figures out 'the mysterious ties that bind us together'"
—Billy Collins.

on How the Garden Looks From Here

     In Lisa Zimmerman's poems there is much sorrow, often hinted and muted, but there is more joy, spoken and sung. The speaker in these poems loves her children, the sky, the lake, and her horses. She lives in the world as if it's the only one; the things of her life matter—the worth of each blade of grass, each bird, each dream, each word is tangible, weighted, and given to us in a poetry measured and strong.
—Rick Campbell