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Rebecca Gibson

2015 • 80

pp. 6 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$16.50 Paperback, 978-0-87233-202-7

“Thank you for your depth and these lyrical almost ethereal poems. There’s a gentleness even though the images speak of violence. We love the images and the sound of your poems.”—The Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art

Poetry of startling grace and clarity

Named after a workaday knife wielded by shepherds and farmers in the high pastures of the Alps when a tool for paring, shaping, cutting into, scraping out of, or freeing is useful, these poems likewise cleave away the false and deceptive to clarify and reveal a startling and unifying wonder. In language radiant, lovely, and disturbing, Rebecca Kaiser Gibson explores the linkages between the uncomfortable familiar and the curiously intimate strange, making unexpected connections between phenomena. Arranged by association rather than chronology and connected by a sensual intelligence, this collection wanders from Maryland and India to Boston, France, New Hampshire and Ireland—from Ezekiel’s Flight and the Book of Kells, to the Tamil goddess Meenakshi.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Like the wooden-handled knife it's named for, Opinel is a book that pierces and sculpts the poet's personal history into something both painfully exposed and delicately rendered. With an incisive eye for the minute and mystifying, Rebecca Kaiser Gibson offers us an elegant book dedicated to extreme attention—to grief, to loss, to encounters, and to the forgotten items in the dusty trunk of oneself. With an understated yet munificent voice she asks, without irony or ego, why not lengthen myself belly first, sensing? so that we all might, like the animals we are, perform this graceful act of observation together.”—Ada Limón, Author of Bright Dead Things

“I take it as a sign of ordinary/unknowns, says the speaker in Rebecca Kaiser Gibson's poem "On the Connecticut." That's the feel of her poems. Hard-edged and edgy, they look hard at the ordinary—a narcissistic mother, rhododendron buds, mushroom spores, suburban life in the fifties—and crack these scenes into shards of new understanding. In forms of fracture, Rebecca Gibson finds forms of preservation, a vision of what emptied of remains, remains.”—Rosanna Warren, Author of Ghost in a Red Hat

“Sharply observed, intensely felt, and alive with crisp images and surprising diction, the poems of Opinel range over painful childhood memories, adult immersions in 'foreign' cultures, and the mysteries at the heart of long-lasting, self-renewing love. In all Rebecca Kaiser Gibson weighs and sifts experience, assays it not only for its worth, but also for its hints about undiscovered meanigns and complexities of feeling. The sturdy, all-purpose peasant knife that gives this collection its title tours out to be an image of the poet's mind at work, an instrument that enables her to peel back the surfaces, restlessly hoping that a revelation might be here, vivid and real, in what she holds in her hands.”—Fred Marchant, Author of The Looking House

From the Book:

“Known Gods”

Even before the sun splashes orange
dawn on the marble floor
I hear the men outside, only their feet
in worn flip-flops, bony and dust-coated,
scuffling dry earth to balance

one at each corner of the rusty cart
full of cement that sways
gray slurry, as they navigate the bumpy road.
Long-armed, one leans away to counter
a dip, no one speaks.
I wonder if they sense some oceanic
swell in the gray cement, like waves,
the manifested sludge an avatar
of a fervent god they each attend.
Since surely all the men
must hear the bird with spiky punkish crown
that darts through yellow-blossomed
neem leaves as the sun soaks through,
no one needs to look. Only I am startled
daily by that hoopoeing self,
its ardent yellow call.

REBECCA KAISER GIBSON teaches poetry at Tufts University. She has been published in Agni, Antigonish, the Boston Phoenix, Field, the Greensboro Review, the Harvard Review, MARGIE, Mothering, Northwest Review, Pleiades, Salamander, Slate, the Adroit Journal, 236 Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, the Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, reprinted in an anthology called Cadence of Hooves, and featured in VerseDaily. Two of her chapbooks have been published: Admit the Peacock and Inside the Exhibition.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:32:30 -0500