Now, from the sweet fragrance of roses, bitterness stings our nostrils. The bay's withdrawn from us, the beach is littered with broken things - splintered oars, bits of old clay pipe from a long ago shipwreck, fragments of china plates. Enchanting, those days my townspeople scavenged rare cargo, furnishing their long winters with random wares.
'Late September': Now, from the sweet fragrance of roses, bitterness stings our nostrils. The bay's withdrawn from us, the beach is littered with broken things - splintered oars, bits of old clay pipe from a long ago shipwreck, fragments of china plates. Enchanting, those days my townspeople scavenged rare cargo, furnishing their long winters with random wares. Now, the wind from two directions turns soft dubious summer to a hard estate. Now, when we know death is near, we walk with more courage, but slowly, alongside cavorting dogs. And soon he and I will wade together into the cold homecoming wave. A new inclusiveness, a heady freedom, grounded in the facts of mortality, inform Gail Mazur's recent poems, as if making them has served as both a bunker and a promontory, a way to survive, and to be exposed to, the profound underlying subject of this book: a husband's approaching death. The intimate particulars of a shared life are seen from a great height - and then there's the underlife of the bunker: endurance, holding on, life as uncompromising reality. This new work, possessed by the unique devil-may-care intensity of someone writing at the end of her nerves, makes "Figures in a Landscape" feel radiant, visionary, and exhilarating, rather than elegiac. Mazur's masterly fusion of abstraction with the facts of a life creates a coming to terms with what Yeats called 'the aboriginal ice.'
"In their subjectivity, the poems appeal to each reader's personality, as well as to his or her aesthetic expectations. Mazur's careful use of natural speech turns personal remembrances into crafted parables.... Extraordinary language is required in order to honor, accurately and lovingly, the ordinary - a notion already embodied in much of Gail Mazur's poetry." (Alexandra Yurkovsky, San Francisco Chronicle)"
About Gail Mazur
Gail Mazur is the author of five books of poetry, most recently of Zeppo's First Wife: New and Selected Poems and They Can't Take That Away from Me, a finalist for the National Book Award, both published by the University of Chicago Press. She is founder and director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and teaches in Emerson College's Graduate Program in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College.
Figures in a Landscape by Gail Mazur
Used - Very Good
The University of Chicago Press
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