Moon Crossing Bridge

Tess Gallagher, Author
Tess Gallagher, Author Graywolf Press $17 (128p) ISBN 978-1-55597-156-4
Reviewed on: 02/01/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Paperback - 110 pages - 978-1-55597-175-5
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Gallagher's ( Amplitude ) new collection is dedicated to her husband, Raymond Carver, who died of cancer in 1988. One cannot help being moved by the emotion that grounds the work, even if the poems sometimes affect us more because of what lies behind them than because of what shows through. Some focus on ordinary objects now invested both with the warmth of remembrance and the agony of grief (``Some gifts are sent / only to haunt''), while others recall moments of leave-taking, such as Carver planting a tree, knowing `` `Even this thing is going to outlive /me.' '' The poem ``Wake'' (``We were dead / a little while together then, serene / and afloat on the strange broad canopy / of the abandoned world'') is one of the most visceral. However, slackness is evident in ``Sad Moments'' (``we are fit for modulation and /whim, for cloves and lace, or / that dim creaturely train rushing past us'') and bathos in ``He Would Have'' (``Any unexpected bounty adds him like seasoning / to the day''). Still, Gallagher's best poems powerfully evoke the ambiguous life of the survivor, who can say, ``My love's early death has scraped away my future,'' yet go on charting a life that has become a ``chaotic laboratory of broken approaches.'' Author tour. (Mar.)
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