Belongings: Poems

Overview

An ambitious, intricately wrought corona of sonnets ponders the nature of belonging in every sense of the word.
Belongings as possessions, as the history and furnishings of a life, and as the places in which life itself happens are the preoccupations at the heart of this affecting collection. Moving from memories of a childhood apartment to mourning for the poet's mother, Belongings explores the question: ...

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Overview

An ambitious, intricately wrought corona of sonnets ponders the nature of belonging in every sense of the word.
Belongings as possessions, as the history and furnishings of a life, and as the places in which life itself happens are the preoccupations at the heart of this affecting collection. Moving from memories of a childhood apartment to mourning for the poet's mother, Belongings explores the question: "Where, how, and to what do you belong?

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The title poem in Gilbert's seventh collection is a 14-part sonnet sequence on the themes of loss and possessions, considering how our things define us and ironically persist even after we're gone. Too often the word choice seems pedantic, as in the sixth sonnet: "crumpled Kleenex reading glasses coins/ and comb she always carries in that purse." In the second section (a series of night poems), Gilbert strikes more imaginative chords. In "Night Cow," she writes "mournful and O so desole-/ under a buttery grinning/ moon, without/ a moo of her own." Gilbert's poems soar when she combines her unique view of the natural world with language play and a deep emotional resonance. Despite the sorrow that these poems record, Gilbert often returns to a feeling of hope. In "January Meadow"-itself a subset of another long poem-Gilbert writes, "silence of cypresses/ upholding sheaves of needles-here they are!-/ like gifts of darkness to a sky whose light's/ so fierce and clear it arches toward forever." Recommended for contemporary collections.-Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393327816
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (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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Table of Contents

Prologue : afternoon walk : the sea ranch 13
I Belongings
1 In-and-out sun like the light of her mind that knows 17
2 They gather where the light collects and falls 18
3 But though she glows but though her smile blazes 19
4 What should she do to safeguard her belongings? 20
5 The curses learned in childhood have their uses 21
6 Away from her belongings purse and keys 22
7 What happens to belongings after the grave? 23
8 Don't let my belongings go astray 24
9 Yet O it's nice that all her things are pretty 25
10 How far the age of mother father daughter! 26
11 When did her mind begin to ravel away? 27
12 At sundown tantrums shake the sunset west 28
13 Sometimes the names of sundown visitors 29
14 Back among her belongings her remains 30
"Add finocchio seeds to your pasta sauce for that real Sicilian flavor!" 31
She was 34
"No thank you, I don't care for artichokes," 37
Chocolate 40
Hell is 42
Remnant 44
"It'll be reabsorbed," 46
On the beach 48
II A little night music
1 Night arrival in the tropics 51
2 Night cry of the frogs 53
3 Night cow 55
4 Night punch, night 57
Mathematicians asleep on the beach in Guadaloupe 59
Rollerbladers in Paris 61
"Seventeen" in the Marais 63
April in 67
St. Petersburg mosquitoes are really 69
Peterhof 71
Salome 72
At Giverny, on canvas 74
In my jazz 75
III Four masks
1 First the fish that cling to your slithery 79
2 Then bear snout, the rubbery freight 80
3 Oh then bird-shape, sleek, aerobic 81
4 At last a butterfly? 82
Empire state 83
Sunday morning and 85
Skunk 87
1 A sudden stink so vast it seems some demon's 87
2 Nothing paces the meadow, nothing 88
3 The river leans against its bank 89
4 Jawbone and clavicle 90
Matriarch 91
The tall pale 93
Morning again 96
Chairlift 98
Daddy long legs, dawdling 100
Lesson 102
February and the oak moths 104
What extends 106
IV A year and a day
January meadow 111
February grass 112
March moon 113
April heart- 114
May seed 115
June - noon 116
July, and a whole 117
August in the old, gold 118
September light 119
October mist 120
November tree fern 121
December sea 122
February 11, 2003 123
Epilogue : the new tree 125
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