Friday, August 7, 2020

Get Up Said the World

Today I read Get Up Said the World by Gail Goepfert (Cervena Barva Press, 2020). Isn't the cover excellent? So is the structure, each poem preceded by the dictionary definition of a relevant word.* The very first poem, "Speaking Up for Silent Eggs," gave me one of those Covid reading moments of pause:

     Masks applied,
     peeled off each night.

These are metaphorical masks, as the poem takes place before Covid, when people are "standing elbow to elbow" at a wedding. That did not console me, though, as my mind turned to worry: my daughter's partner needs to attend his sister's wedding in early September, and it won't be safe to stand elbow to elbow at a wedding then, nor to fly, and he'll be returning to her. "How do we persist in this living?" asks Gail Goepfert, innocent of my particular worries, but experienced in the world's yearnings: "I want together to be less lonely than alone--- / together, a small surrender."

*Example: You will (and you won't) want to experience the "deluge, noun... a large amount of thing that come at the same time; an overwhelming amount or number" of worries, burdens, and knowledge that comes in "Cold Calling," an account of a telephone call.

The random coincidii here include "While Spooning Jelly on Toast" (a poem that goes with "mettle, noun...vigor and strength of spirit or temperament") about a mother and daughter shopping for a bra, post-surgery--connecting to Yvonne Zipter's beautiful poem "Grace Lesson," written about here--and Erin Coughlin Hollowell's poems of mother grief in Every Atom

I loved finding the title poem and its facing-page definition (" give new life to") as well as its epigraph connecting it to a poem by Louise Gluck, a favorite poet of mine. And I loved how Goepfert's "Ars Poetica" relates to H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, a book I loved.

She also provides the perfect final word--"plenitude"--and final poem, "Drinking It In." I look back at the delightful cover, its empty green bottle, propped against a window or door frame, telling me to "Get Up." "I drink from the lip of the bottle. Quenched."

No comments: