Out in the Open: Poems Margaret Gibson Author
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The lyric and meditative poems Margaret Gibson gives us in Out in the Open are works of contemplation and self-inquiry. “In the long journey to be other than I am / I have struggled and not got far,” she writes. Sometimes the journey takes the poet literally out in the open—the mountains, the desert, the fields, the wood. At other times, the journey, the search for vision and for truth, begins a moment’s notice in more familiar, domestic surroundings.I lift the glass turn it slowly in the light, its whole body full of light. Suddenly I hold everything I know, myself most of all, in question.Waiting for a grasp of permanent unity and clarity, the poet turns the act of waiting into a discipline that enables the obstructions encountered (desire, fear, ambition, death, disharmony) to become teachers. “Meeting others we meet ourselves,” one poem says, and whether the other is a love, or someone dying, a former Nazi pilot, or a blind woman in Zagorsk, there is self-meeting and, sometimes, a deep recognition of something beyond, and yet within, self.At the core of what I am, in that sacred space, light does its work, as it will without my consent or blessing—and better so.Echoes of Taoist, Buddhist, and Christian thinking haunt the mind in these poems, although the vision arrived at in the last poems is syncretic, an existential clarity in which struggle of wills is momentarily stilled.The wind breathes light into our bones—turning stars into power we can touch, impluse we can follow of tell, teaching love— for that is what we are.

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