With her latest poetry collection, Gail Mazur once again shows her mastery of the descriptive-meditative narrative, powerfully evoking the past while writing from the firm ground of the present.
Land’s End, we see Mazur writing with the kind of lyric authority, ever-deepening emotional range, and intellectual and social scope that her readers have come to expect in her poetry. Beautifully crafted elegies meet with reflections on her own life, her family, and artists who have come and gone. In the title poem, she leads readers through a garden, where new and old growth twists together in an “almanac of inheritances” that conjures the rich memory of poets who have passed on. In this space of remembrance, Mazur also charges us with the responsibility of nurturing art and artists of the future, especially in the face of the disheartening absurdities of contemporary politics. Contemplating the growth and decay so entwined in life, these poems invite us to consider both inevitable brokenness and necessary hope, writing “My work now: to continue learning to absorb the loss, / and live.”
Through tidal creeks and the weightless scenes of
ukiyo-e woodcuts, in artists’ studios and along the frozen Charles River, Mazur connects passionately with the world around her. Carrying with her the undeniable presence of loss and of time past, she engages deeply with the present, her historic memory informing a deep concern for contemporary life. Reading
Land’s End, we find ourselves with the poet:
as if here at land’s end, here on the coast, urgent,
together we’d have energies to do battle forever.
As if we could rescue the guttering world….
Gail Mazur is the founder of the Blacksmith House poetry reading series, one of the oldest continuous series in the country. She has taught widely, including the graduate writing programs of Boston University, Emerson College, and the University of Houston. She has received numerous grants and awards and is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently,
"In this comprehensive volume, Mazur demonstrates a remarkable mastery of poetic technique as she depicts human relationships in all of their ambiguities. . . .Here, as elsewhere, the speaker boldly and sensitively proclaims her own lack of understanding. It is this vulnerability, equipped and complemented with extensive erudition, that makes Mazur’s poems as poignant as they are accomplished in their craft."