Christine Gardiner
photo by Emily Dryden

photo by Emily Dryden



I am a writer and teacher. I hold a BA and MFA in the Literary Arts from Brown University and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Denver. For over a decade, I have taught literature and writing at the college and graduate level, to students of all ages and all walks of life.

As an artist, I am interested in the ineffable, in rendering and giving form to that which cannot be said. As a teacher, I am edified by my students—and their stories.

cover art by Nicole Franco

cover art by Nicole Franco



My Sister’s Father is an American Gothic. In a world of plenty and waste, these poems go behind the closed doors of an affluent suburban household to expose its foundation in unspeakable violence.

My Sister’s Father seeks a language to capture the crisis as it breaks and the walls come closing in.

Black Lawrence Press, 2017



Eleni Sikelianos

“These nearly weaponized poems manifest what it’s like to be caught in a trap where family, money, and world have turned against each other, and no one, not even the reader, can touch a single object “without touching the consequence.” These are poems of singular shipwreck in the wake of a collective crisis that pulls every piece of personal debris into its maelstrom. How do we grieve the gap between the true and the false signatories? Gardiner shows, bravely, deeply, that poetry is how we, is what survives.


“Christine Gardiner writes, “The telling of the seeing broke the crisis.” Here is a book that illumines… the ways the disaster exceeds every limit, even as it simultaneously, constantly arrives. And when the crisis breaks? Language becomes a listening (a sounding veil) where we might, as Gardiner suggests, “listen without knowing what for.” My Sister’s Father—lamentation as a field composed of whispers, an underworld dirge, a primer for how to walk through the dark corridor in the empty house during the longest night. The only thing to do now is to read this book again.”


“The surreal horror of this family constellation (the father is seen stitching “a match-book car-bomb into my sister’s intestines”) becomes a kind of trampoline for Gardiner’s amazing leaps: “my feet were set in concrete,/ and I turned so slowly from one problem/ to the other that I was frozen solid/ at their center, and the whole world/ came into an indolent orbit around me.” 

These leaps of language and imagination take us to “another country” where “time comes and goes without a ticket.” Here, in this freedom, “time is the infinitive.” Hence, with the logic of grammar, the infinite… becomes possible: “And you sense the swollen heart/ first plummet, then rise/ to the still, scarred surface of being,/ where impermeable and quivering,/ inexplicable as the seraph,/ it quacks and buoys like a duck.”

An amazing and delightful book.”