One Body

Margaret Gibson's ninth book of poems, One Body, illuminates grief and celebration in equal measure. It begins with the death of a friend -- or rather with the first shaken aftermath of that death. Standing in the friend's kitchen, the poet sees:

?blue mats, yellow plates and cups,
a single jonquil in the bud vase
on the lazy Susan, and a hand--
Jeans's hand-reaching
to turn nearer
the small blue and white pitcher?

Gibson's poems resemble D�rer prints or Rembrandt paintings in their dedication to homely life. One sprig of basil fed to a dying woman conjures "goat cheese and a crust / of bread, the dust / of ruins and wild thyme. / ? her dead husband's / living mouth." Death haunts One Body -- the poems grieve the death of friend, father, sister; a mother's aging; "snipe and wolf / snow goose, dolphin, quail and lark." But Gibson expresses an equally devout, passionate affection for living: "Tonight, though I would like to ease / The length of my body along the length / Of my husband's and enter, breath / By breath, the heat two bodies make." Lines break with deliberation. The poem's rhythms are like rowing, purposeful and steady, and the poet's vision is prayerfully attentive. At every opportunity Gibson pushes at boundaries of subject and form. The result is a book of exquisite sadness and hopeful beauty. "I have always been alone, and I have never been alone. / What I used to call the self is a winnowing of light / in the flood plain of the boundless." -

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.