Aftermath

Overview

"Sandra Gilbert's poems are beautifully situated at the intersection of craft and feeling."—Billy Collins
The title of this collection—at times mournful, sardonic, and joyous—refers to the grief in the wake of loss. Yet these poems aren't just about the consequences of loss but also about the complex experiences of endurance, acquiescence, and rebirth that, with luck, mark the aftermath of sorrow.
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Overview

"Sandra Gilbert's poems are beautifully situated at the intersection of craft and feeling."—Billy Collins
The title of this collection—at times mournful, sardonic, and joyous—refers to the grief in the wake of loss. Yet these poems aren't just about the consequences of loss but also about the complex experiences of endurance, acquiescence, and rebirth that, with luck, mark the aftermath of sorrow.
from "Aftermath: Kite"
But the thought is only paper after all,
a soul that clings to a stick, tears open, shreds as if it's flung to the ground in a final shiny fall,
and at last the line goes limp, the climbing ends.
Beyond the rush & sweep, an arc of silence—
though a mind imagined this flight, & proved it once.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"How could I (but I could)// not think of my dead—/ their faces quickly withering/ & blown along these roads." In her eighth collection (after Belongings), noted poet/critic Gilbert considers grief, loss, and what follows. Employing sonnets (sequences and series), carefully constructed tercets, and metered quatrains, she pursues bereavements that are mostly personal but sometimes global; she writes of "another slam of war" and questions the "struggle" to "name the bullets in a sonnet." Personifying grief as "a vase of bloody roses," a "young birch swaying & scabrous," and "a dull pot/ at the back of the stove," she is mindful that the poet's work is to record these moments. In language and imagery that is as lush as it is simple, Gilbert explores the aftermath of sorrow, which is, at best, the comfort of memory and the possible return of joy. "When I put my lenses in/ the world returns to the spectacle it was/ before darkness swallowed us." VERDICT A highly recommended book by an important poet.—Karla M. Huston, Wisconsin Acad. of Sciences, Appleton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393081121
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra M. Gilbert has published numerous volumes of criticism, including, most recently, Death’s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve, as well as eight collections of poetry and a memoir. She is coeditor (with Susan Gubar) of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women and a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. A Distinguished Professor of English emerita at the University of California, Davis, she lives in Berkeley, California.

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