Trellises & Thorns by Pam Laskin


Indeed, there is much to fill our hearts with grief, post-covid: two wars, in Ukraine and the Middle East; a virus which just won’t go away; people whose lives have been shattered by illness, politics and loneliness. These are the “thorns” of our existence, and they have pierced the hearts of humanity. The greatness of any garden is as weeds take over and plants die, what grows in its place is often new, beautiful and different. These are the “trellises” which continue to bloom and grow: friends; family; the connections which ultimately bind us to this world. TRELLISES AND THORNS does a superb job of exploring the grief and elegance in this world, both of which are inextricably bound.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 70
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: February 2024
  • ISBN 978-1-953252-99-9


Trellises and Thorns delves into the human spirit’s capacity to bloom amidst adversity. With each delicately crafted verse, there is a sense of urgency—to listen closely and empathize with what happens in the garden of life, love and loss, where grief and resilience entangle. As the poems in this collection dance between light and shadow, the poet calls attention to the anguish of “broken homes destroyed by bombs” while also capturing the strength of love’s tender caress “creating dreams with words the bones of blessings” to invite readers on an emotional and introspective journey. These poems resonate with the reader long after the final verse is read to serve as a reminder from the poet that even in the seasons of thorns “joy blossoms and it beams so blessed in summer.” —Kerryanne Bell

Pamela Laskin’s poems are like plants and seeds. These are the seeds  of words that contain the joys and anxieties of the modern world: Covid; the war in Ukraine and in the Middle East. The poet is looking for a language to explain to herself and the readers the complexity of our time. In her private poetic garden trellises, that support the weight of plants, become important. Contemplation and participation—this is what the poetic air of Laskin’s garden sounds like. It remains up to us to hear her voice and understand what is being said. —Vasyl Makhno


Overgrown Garden:
A Love Letter to New York

Dear New York,
I should have left you
when it was easy
could have traipsed
into a spring of sunshine and sparrows
where miles of clean beaches
beautiful sunsets
and the stores
you might take me to
shelved with caviar, Perrier
simple breath
home-baked bread
radiant in light and bright
a costume of white,

I allowed you
under my skin
sweat of summer sidewalks
too much garbage
lingering like an open mouth
a restless mass;
you were gritty and dirty
without any relief.

At the corner bodega
you bought me a Slushy
and the voices
of language—
English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi—
a meandering queue
of faces and places
made me dizzy
with desire.

New York
your frantic air is stifling
yet you pull me into this frenzy
of taste and smell and color;
how could I ever leave you?

Even the daffodil
loves to linger
in your overgrown garden.

Love, Me


Pam LaskinPamela L. Laskin is a lecturer in the English Department at City College, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate Children’s Writing, and directs the Poetry Outreach Center. Several of her children’s and poetry books have been published. RONIT AND JAMIL, A Palestinian/Israeli ROMEO AND JULIET in verse was published by Harper Collins in 2017, and was named  among the 35 books to have on your radar for 2017. BEA, a picture book, was a finalist for the Katherine Paterson Prize for Children’s Fiction in 2018. She is the winner of the 2018 International Fiction Prize from Leapfrog Press, and WHY NO BHINE, an epistolary novel about the Rohingya Muslims, was published in 2019. The Operating System published a bilingual picture book, MONSTER MARIA, which is about Hurricane Maria, and is being used as a fundraiser for after-school programs in Puerto Rico. Linus Press  published MY SECRET WISH about families seeking asylum, and is also being used as a fundraiser for Immigrant Families Together. Cervena Barva Press just published WORDS UNWHISPERED, her first book of ghazals. THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRAZY, a middle grade-novel, was published in November, 2021 (Atmosphere Press). She is currently at work with Ukrainian author Vasyl Makhno on a YA novel in verse, WISTERIA AND WEEDS, whose focus is on the war in the Ukraine, and what it means for the lives of teens. Finally, she is this year’s (2023) recipient of Judith’s Room Freedom Through Literacy Board option prize for her current novel.

Follow her: twitter@RonitandJamil and follow her blog:

Additional information

Weight 4.9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in