Book Review: Sky the Oar, Poems by Stacy R. Nigliazzo

Sky the Oar by Stacy R. Nigliazzo, Press 53, 2018

Sky The Oar

poems by Stacy R. Nigliazz

Publisher: Press 53, 2018

Stacy R. Nigliazzo is a poet living in Houston, Texas. She is also an emergency department nurse. Her second published collection of poetry, Sky the Oar, like its predecessor Scissored Moon is informed by her experiences as an ER nurse.

I once had a painting instructor who read a poem to his class before each lesson. He said, You need poetry to be a painter. I would add, You need poetry to be a nurse. Nigliazzo creates poetry from the struggles of the human condition nurses witness daily.

Unlike medical surgery or ICU nurses, ER nurses treat and care for their patients for short spans of time. The poems of Sky the Oar reflect these brief, intense encounters. They are fleeting thoughts and images occurring in the internal dialogue of a poet too busy caring for the person beneath her hands to attach judgement to their plight.

Nigliazzo’s words are crisp and precise, things of beauty without sentimentalism or euphemism. The words are like shards of glass glittering in our hands, their edges sharp enough to pierce the skin. Her poems elevate these crystalline splinters of humanity for our understanding and compassion. In I Am and Nocturne, I found myself at the bedside with her. In the poem Frequently Asked Questions By My Patients, Nigliazzo captures a patient’s experience in a mere nine words.

Sky The Oar is poetry for all readers. For nurses, the slim volume is salve for the soul.








In The February Issue of The American Journal of Nursing

photo: jparadisi

One of my coworkers brought the February 2011 issue the American Journal of Nursing to work.  My short story The Wisdom of Nursery Rhymes is featured in the Reflections column on the back page, with the sensitively rendered illustration by Barbara Hranilovich. Thank you to senior editor Jacob Molyneux and Madeleine Mysko, who coordinates the column. My coworker liked the story, but that wasn’t all she was reading. There are a lot of other particularly interesting articles this month. I am highlighting only a few in this post.

The cover article The Role of the Nurse in Combating Human Trafficking, by Donna Sabella, brings to light a problem often kept under the radar. I suspect most of us are unaware how prevalent the problem has become.  Original Research: Local Anesthesia Before IV Catheterization, by Sandra Drozdz Burke, Sonia J. Vercler, Ra’Net O. Bye, P. Corinn Desmond, and Yvonne W. Bees tackles questions many infusion nurses have about the efficacy of intradermal buffered lidocaine over intradermal bacteriostatic normal saline as a local anesthesia before IV starts. Both articles offer CE credits too.

The Art of Nursing, coordinated by senior editor Sylvia Foley, features a poem of severe beauty, Sketch, by Stacy R. Nigliazzo. This is the second time Stacy’s and my work has appeared together in the same issue of the American Journal of Nursing. In the October 2009 issue, her poem Purgatory was featured in the Art of Nursing, and my painting Love You to Death appeared on its cover.