Earth Elegy gathers new poems as well as work from Margaret Gibson's previous books and proves her a poet for whom the earth is a place of marvels and, at times, tragic splendor. Whether rendering the sun-splashed markets of Mexico, an evening of joyful community in Soviet Georgia, or the mountains and fields of solitary walks, these brilliantly crafted meditations explore the dynamics of radiance and grief as they manifest themselves in our lives.
In these poems, Gibson evokes the talismanic energy of things with a palette of sensual colors and textures reminiscent of the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe, as in her rendering of a sycamore, "each limb rippled like hair/unwound from a braid".
In the most fundamental sense, her work is both political and spiritual: in its compassion, in its desire to know "harvest from theft", and in its deep belief in human dignity. Her poems are profoundly contemplative, seeking within this world the "persistent fire/flung from the wordless Source".
Earth Elegy traces the workings of a sensibility that focuses emotional intensity like light through a magnifying glass and brings its subjects alive in blazes of almost unbearable clarity.