cover image Feast Gently

Feast Gently

G.C. Waldrep. Tupelo, $17.95 trade paper (94p) ISBN 978-1-946482-11-2

With roots in daily life, these long-lined meditations from poet and historian Waldrep (Testament) reach from the sensory to the sublime and back. Waldrep’s poems trouble the edge of knowing, and many take place at night or in shadow: “In darkness I move around my house/ as a blind man might, touching/ the walls, the furniture, small objects,/ my own body.” The collection moves much like this speaker, exploring daily spaces rendered uncanny, if not enigmatic, and aware that even the most familiar things are ontologically distinct from the speaker’s experience. Waldrep, who allows that “Sometimes touch is better/ than illumination,” revels in the space of partial knowledge. He writes poems of interiority, inviting the reader to the slow but expansive terrain of cognition. But, here, interiority is a way of reaching out to find what of the world can be grasped by the senses and arranged by careful thought. And the world reaches back: “What does the snow learn?/ The shape of the flesh, the shape of the heat of the flesh/ and its offal./ The sun is a distant body.” Waldrep’s poetry details a kind of brushing against the self, the way mystery threads through observation. (May)