IN THESE FINAL DAYS before an election that, though scheduled, can feel exigent in its circumstances, I find myself stepping away from sides and tallies, harms and breaks, to inhabit momentarily a place of being, of breath, one that pauses the continual intellectual and physical fight-or-flight that has become—or has always been—a normalized response for too many living in this country.
A mirror can be held to the world, but sometimes the world lifts a mirror in return.
Aside from fleeting moments of panic-induced respite, what are our options for traversing this time, and that which follows, in a way that engenders more response than reaction? Whether survival mechanism or coping strategy, we might invite a shift of gaze from hyper-focused objective to those margins of overlap we commonly vault past. With an insistent tug on our sleeve, poet Patrice Boyer Claeys invites us to do just that in her review of Gail Goepfert’s newest book of poems, Get Up Said the World.
Reasons to read are to witness and be transformed. And I am, as Claeys traces the energies of Goepfert’s lines pushing along currents volcanic and riparian, protean in generation and decay. A mirror can be held to the world, but sometimes the world lifts a mirror in return. Gathered in subsequent reflections floats everything that came before and a version of what might exist ahead. As Claeys steps into the work of Goepfert, it is a gift of contemplation and conversion, a way of angling the glass so that others may catch the brilliance of a different perspective, carried forward.
In this world built in its unbounding, poetry helps us alight, feet to ground, to air, to water, as a way to continue through whatever abyss or opportunity we will face, together. My hope is that the work of both these poets will find and sustain you at the margins, in the middle, or wherever you may stand.
Read: Patrice Boyer Claeys’ review of Gail Goepfert’s Get Up Said the World