After the Body: Poems New and Selected

Cleopatra Mathis. Sarabande, $15.95 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-9464486-0-6
Over the last four decades, Mathis (Book of Dog) has quietly crafted lyrically precise, often harrowing poems in which the poet’s “throat is a long avenue of ice,/ cutting the familiar good words/ at their source.” This generous volume draws from the poet’s recorded gifts and losses: poems of early and late motherhood, a child’s mental illness and institutionalization, human and nonhuman deaths within and beyond the poet’s purview. As the poet studies “the art of now and wait, to love/ what’s not a part of me,” the swamps and bayous of her childhood home morph into the woods and coastlines of New England: “Some pinion/ connects who we are with whatever pulls us/ to walk into the evening’s wetland grasses/ in an air made of sounds we listen for/ ...the grace of seeing that will save us.” To these earlier works are added two dozen new poems of extraordinary acuity, many of them attempts to describe the wracking pain as the poet struggles with crippling illness. Rereading the poet’s past work through her present reveals hidden continuities. In these knowing poems, readers may recognize their own humanity, as well as the sometimes-impossible conditions of living. (July)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2020
Release date: 07/07/2020
Genre: Poetry
Open Ebook - 978-1-946448-61-3
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