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.
In 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….
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