Standpipe: Delivering Water in Flint

By David Hardin

"A heartfelt portrait of a city, and a man, grieving."—Kirkus Reviews

Standpipe is a brief, elegant memoir of the author's work as a Red Cross volunteer delivering emergency water to residents of Flint, Michigan. A collection of short essays and vignettes, Standpipe sets the struggles of a city in crisis against the author's personal journey as his mother declines into dementia and eventual death, just before the emergency is declared in Flint. Written with a poet's eye for detail and quiet metaphor, Standpipe is an intimate look at one man's engagement with both civic and familial trauma.

David Hardin is a Michigan poet, writer, and artist. His work has appeared in 3 Quarks Daily, Prague Review, Drunken Boat, Hermes Poetry Journal, Dunes Review, Epigraph Magazine, Loose Change, Burningwood Literary Journal, ARDOR, Carolina Quarterly, Madison Review, the 2014 Bear River Review, and elsewhere.

Praise for Standpipe:

"The short diarylike entries are like sun shining through trees, revealing light and shadow, hope and despair. They are artful yet concise, candid yet snappy as gum, and vary between personal grief and the grief Hardin witnesses, sometimes within the same paragraph, drawing the thinnest line from his middle-class upbringing to the “grinding, generational poverty” of the residents he serves."—Kerri Arsenault, Washington Post

"In exquisitely chiseled vignettes, Hardin captures the deplorable conditions in Flint and the injustices that have plagued it for generations"—National Book Review

"Standpipe is an exceptional and useful book for our times. At once, it is a knight's tale of unsullied ideals, of Dave Hardin's quest to deliver clean water to the poisoned citizens of Flint; but it is also the tale of submerged American populations, American migrants of many colors and beliefs journeying within our own country, and come (somehow) to fitful rest in America's vast, often indifferent middle."—Richard Ford

"Flint, Michigan has a reliable witness in Dave Hardin.  Standpipe delivers much to wonder in the “water wonderland.”  Racism, poverty, neglect and a failure of leadership have horrific consequences.  A very worthy and timely read."—Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking: Life Stories from a Dismal Trade

"David Hardin is one of Detroit's finest poets. In his new book, Standpipe,  he brings together the elegance of poetry into the seriousness of memoir. A rich and engaging narrative about the tragedies of Flint’s water crisis and its subsequent damage blended with the dedication of an American Red Cross volunteer. A beautiful  and memorable book.”—M. L. Liebler, award-winning Detroit poet, editor and professor

“A standpipe is a temporary mechanism for delivering water where it is not otherwise available. In 2016, former schoolteacher David Hardin trained as a Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteer to become a human standpipe, delivering fresh bottled water to the residents of Flint, Michigan, whose government had been poisoning them with lead in their water supply for more than two years. This on-the-ground account of the people, social circumstances, and economic conditions of this once vibrant and now devastated city is a story of redemption, but not so much for the people of Flint as for the author himself. By providing for the essential needs of others, Hardin uncovers a path to heal his own legacy of filial estrangement and personal loss.”—Vince Carducci, publisher, Motown Review of Art




JANUARY 26, 2021 | ISBN: 9781948742825 | MEMOIR | PAPERBACK | 5 X 7 | 144 PAGES