Norton. Jul. 2011. c.96p. ISBN 9780393081121. $24.95. POETRY
OrangeReviewStar"How could I (but I could)// not think of my dead—/ their faces quickly withering/ & blown along these roads." In her eighth collection (after Belongings), noted poet/critic Gilbert considers grief, loss, and what follows. Employing sonnets (sequences and series), carefully constructed tercets, and metered quatrains, she pursues bereavements that are mostly personal but sometimes global; she writes of "another slam of war" and questions the "struggle" to "name the bullets in a sonnet." Personifying grief as "a vase of bloody roses," a "young birch swaying & scabrous," and "a dull pot/ at the back of the stove," she is mindful that the poet's work is to record these moments. In language and imagery that is as lush as it is simple, Gilbert explores the aftermath of sorrow, which is, at best, the comfort of memory and the possible return of joy. "When I put my lenses in/ the world returns to the spectacle it was/ before darkness swallowed us."
VERDICT A highly recommended book by an important poet.
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