Magnetic North

Linda Gregerson, Author . Houghton Mifflin $22 (68p) ISBN 978-0-618-71870-2

In the searching, extended meditations of her fourth collection, Gregerson (Waterborne ) draws relationships between disparate subjects and historical periods with masterful assurance, trying to head off the dizzying sensation of loss or perhaps to prolong its effects. Often, the desire for divine reassurance is tempered by a cerebral wryness in response to witnessing desperation and suffering firsthand. In a poem about September 11, Gregerson writes, "There are/ principles at work, no doubt:/ beholding a world of harm, the mind/ will apprehend some bringer-of-harm"; intellectualization artfully circumvents uncontrolled emotional response. Gregerson's elastic line lengths and flexible stanza structures figure her poetic access to recent and remote events and people, which are interwoven to create a fabric that can withstand the present. Gregerson self-consciously strives toward an understanding of universal order she knows she can never have: "The world so rarely/ let's us in." The poems are strongest when Gregerson's local, natural world becomes a portal to the metaphysical, and poems on mythological subjects and other artists are at times less moving. But at her best, Gregerson's compass points surely through a landscape in which "what was/ the future —cinnabar, saffron, marigold,/ quince—becomes the past ." (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/26/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Paperback - 68 pages - 978-0-547-08576-0
Open Ebook - 80 pages - 978-0-547-75430-7
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