cover image Opinel


Rebecca Kaiser Gibson. Bauhan (UPNE, dist.), $16.50 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-87233-202-7

In a debut full-length collection named for a versatile peasant knife of the French Alps, Gibson, who teaches poetry at Tufts University, sets out to metaphorically "scrape leather,/ carve cheese, untangle vine,/ release trapped lambs, hack/ out ice, slice flesh." The collection is full of impressions of childhood, India, nature, death, trauma, and the wonders of the commonplace. Watching the patrons and workers in a caf%C3%A9, she writes, "I can hardly eat, I am so full/ of love for those/ who don't know I love them." Gibson also celebrates the beauty of growing older as she ponders "the age spots/ I've just noticed on my arm/ like sprinkled cinnamon, a sweet touch,/ received." She reveals her talents for finding the moments when nature becomes a mirror for love: "I'll dream of you, the swallows still/ the purple shield of wheat fields hushed." Alternating between conversational and ornate diction, Gibson observes the quotidian and draws moments of clarity from cacophonous swirls of sensuous and penetrating language. (Sept.)