Carpeing the Diem by David Lee Garrison


In Carpeing The Diem, David Garrison executes,
with cavalier ease and elegance, two dozen poems about
high school. Though their situations and characters are
familiar (high school is one of the most conventional and
predictable of American institutions), the poems are
always fresh, and the poet’s deployment of form and
rhyme, as well as his take on urban legend, are a delight.
Richard Hague


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 54
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: July, 2017
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-84-6


“I found myself transported to my own high school days by these poems. I relived my boyhood crushes, smelled the stale book odor of my locker again, felt the butterflies swirling in my stomach before the big game. What a fun, emotion-filled ride!” —Neil Carpathios

“Victors and victims alike, we are all survivors of high school, and we remember that crucible through David Lee Garrison’s Carpeing the Diem. Read it. Be astounded and amused.” —Herbert Woodward Martin

“Remember high school? Sure you do! Those tentative looks in the mirror, the guy in the leather jacket, the myth of Hook Man and Lover’s Lane? David Lee Garrison’s poems capture the awkward grace of adolescence with such good humor and tenderness you might not mind being a teenager again.” —Cathryn Essinger

“The imagistic poems of David Lee Garrison display a sharp eye, an admirable capacity to praise this world and, best of all, startling and intelligent flourishes of real humor. —Jonathan Holden

“As the Gideon Bible is in every hotel room, this beautiful daring book should be in everyone’s ear and in all school libraries” —Willis Barnstone



Half the congregation went down
to the river after church to look
for Eddie’s body. I parked
among other cars lining the road
to the bridge and strolled out
with my brothers to gawk
at the broken railing,
the police boats dredging below.
We were hot in our suits,
and when I saw the wind
lifting spring dresses,
playing with lace-edged slips,

it struck me that Eddie
was looking up those dresses,
laughing at the good citizens in
Sunday best who bowed their heads
in search of him and his motorcycle.
It didn’t matter to Eddie
that people were saying
the accident served him right.
He didn’t care that they were
shaking their heads
about his oily duck’s ass haircut
and leather jacket, about the red
heart pierced by a blue arrow
that twitched on his biceps
when he curled the big weights
at the YMCA.

He could lift
two hundred pounds, and when
the attendant punched a kid
for running in the locker room,
Eddie shoved the man against a wall
and told him to pick on somebody
his own size. We shot pool
together that day and smoked
cigarettes, and I never again
believed the rumors about Eddie
except the one I wanted to,
and still want to—
that he had slept with a woman.

Eddie stayed under water
for almost three weeks;
he only drifted ashore when
people started to forget him.


David GarrisonDavid Lee Garrison was born in Bremerton, Washington, in 1945. He did his undergraduate work at Wesleyan, received master’s degrees from Catholic University of America and Indiana University, and earned his doctorate in Spanish at Johns Hopkins.

After visiting appointments at Indiana University, the University of Kansas, and Washington College, Professor Garrison taught Spanish and Portuguese at Wright State University from 1979 until his retirement in 2009.

He has published articles and books on Spanish Literature, as well as translations of Spanish poets from Lope de Vega to Gloria Fuertes, including collections of Nobel Laureate Vicente Aleixandre (with Willis Barnstone), José Bergamín, and Pedro Salinas.

His poems have appeared widely in journals such as Connecticut Review, Denver Quarterly, Poem, and Rattle, and in many anthologies. Two poems from his book, Sweeping the Cemetery, were read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and one was included in the Keillor anthology, Good Poems, American Places.

The title poem from his book, Playing Bach in the DC Metro, was featured by United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser on his website, American Life in Poetry, and read by “Game of Thrones” star Tara Fitzgerald on the BBC radio program, “Words and Music.”

He won the Paul Laurence Dunbar Poetry Prize in 2009 and was named Ohio Poet of the Year in 2014.

David Lee Garrison lives in Oakwood, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, with his wife, Suzanne Kelly-Garrison, a novelist, poet, and professor of law at Wright State University.

Additional information

Weight 6 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in