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The Gatherer, Poems by Judith Bowles
Poet Judith Bowles gathers in this debut collection a harvest of observations on illuminated spaces, made so by the act of paying close attention.
"Clear of eye and voice, Judith Bowles measures out history in all its quotidian particularity and does it movingly. She opens 'a wide window / noisy with light' onto her garden's comfreys and bees; onto a mother who hung 'on to every vowel like candy / too good to swallow'; and in 'Flash Frozen,' onto the humor of our passage from a 'homemade world' to a world in which one 'could whip up a meal in twenty minutes / once she unwrapped the box.' These are poems that reveal the wonders of being human in these times."--Greg McBride
"It's the ingenious ways that we gather (as family; as cognition; as the basketing of words) that unite the diverse subject matter of Judith Bowles' superb debut collection. The poet, hunkering down into memory, engages in an act of difficult affirmation. She digs to the tangled roots of spaces 'noisy with light,' a landscape that would create with equal zeal the beauties of Hopper or Synge as it would the Edison electric chair. What she unearths at the root-heart of action is a strange stillness, the magnetism of empty spaces that once held form and force. From its opening question, 'Why does it seem/something is going to happen or has happened here,' The Gatherer explores those moments just before or just after the unexpected strikes. This is a stunningly accomplished first book of poetry by a poet whose subtlety and restraint are only matched by her fierce love for the world exactly as it is." --David Keplinger
"Judith Bowles' The Gatherer is a book of spirited lyric poetry. I mean her work is enlivened with a brightness of phrase ('Rain had lifted. / As if snapped back / into low-hanging clouds') and a subtle formal command. But I mean, also, these poems are ghosted--by mothers and grandmothers, movie stars, old friends, even the inspiring wind, that 'generous donor.' Like Edward Hopper, an important presence, Bowles' aesthetic is shaped by clarity and a rightness of detail, minimal and revealing, but tinted also to the moody aura of memory and loss. The Gatherer is a full life seen in glimpses--glancing back, looking ahead--all the time alert to the 'wild blue place' where we gather." --David Baker
ISBN: 978-1625491046, 80 pages, $18.00