It Becomes You: Poems

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Overview

“Dobby Gibson’s poetry . . . is equal parts tender, triumphant, exhilarating, disturbing, and thought provoking: it’s fantastic.” (The Corresponder)

* Shortlisted for the Believer Poetry Award *

From the backs of the books I love and am terrified by,

the great thinkers stare back at me

with little ...

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Overview

“Dobby Gibson’s poetry . . . is equal parts tender, triumphant, exhilarating, disturbing, and thought provoking: it’s fantastic.” (The Corresponder)

* Shortlisted for the Believer Poetry Award *

From the backs of the books I love and am terrified by,

the great thinkers stare back at me

with little encouragement.

I am prepared to follow them anywhere!

 

—from “Ago”

 

Meditative, lyrical, aphoristic, and always leavened with a wry wit, the poems in Dobby Gibson’s It Becomes You explore the divergent conditions by which we’re perpetually defined—the daily weather, the fluctuations of the Dow, the growth of a cancer cell, the politics of the day. What surrounds us becomes us, Gibson suggests, in a book that will ultimately become you.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gibson (Skirmish) got noticed for his first two books, which combined a sparky, bizarre postsurrealism with an understated, familiar sadness. This third outing might be his best; it’s surely his plainest—the sadness, and its attendant wisdom, can take over. Here is Gibson’s version of human progress, from “After the Slap, Before the Apology”: “First we invent stuff,/ then we invent stuff to make that stuff/ freeing up our time to worry about what to do next.” And here are lovely yet drab observations from the long title poem: “Another silence ends in conversation./.../ We’re furiously inventing millions of new ways/ to stay exactly the same.” Gibson’s conversational diction and free verse line are nothing if not contemporary, but his willingness to face disappointment connects these poems less to models like Dean Young (addressed in one beautiful homage) than to late Wallace Stevens and early Mark Strand. And the volume, for all its gray tones, resignations, and off-white skies, has consolation aplenty— domestic satisfactions, witty one-liners, and the real beauties of its settings among them. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for It Becomes You:

“Poems of grace and invention. . . . In Gibson’s hands the lyric form becomes enlivened. This is his most generous and assured volume to date.” —The Believer Poetry Award, Editors’ Shortlist

"The dry wit of Gibson's poetry crackles. . . . Gibson is a Minneapolis ad man, and whatever he's selling, we're buying." —Minnesota Monthly, "The Best Books and Music of the Winter"

"Gibson is more than a turner of clever phrases. There is a real tenderness at the heart of his work. . . . Gibson deftly quilts witty observation with moments of lyric intensity." —Star Tribune

"[Gibson's] poems remind me of Billy Collins or Mark Strand. . . . At their best, they reflect the sharp humor of Auden, who makes tight lines appear effortlessly conversational." —New Pages

"This third outing might be [Gibson's] best . . . . Gibson's conversational diction and free verse line are nothing if not contemporary, but his willingness to face disappointment connects these poems less to models like Dean Young (addressed in one beautiful homage) than to late Wallace Stevens and early Mark Strand. And the volume, for all its gray tones, resignations, and off-white skies, has consolation aplenty—domestic satisfactions, witty one-liners, and the real beauties of its settings among them." —Publishers Weekly

"[Gibson is] playful, mysterious, wry, humorous, sad, full bodied and adventurous. Maybe that's enough for one lifetime; yet, Gibson is also master of the soliloquy in poetry, and the dramatic monologue, shrewd with perception. . . . Full-bore language becomes poetry that you surely do not want to miss." —Washington Independent Review of Books

Praise for Dobby Gibson:

“Wise and brave, with a pure sense of truth and adventure that is rare, and never diminishes.” —Bloomsbury Review

 

“Gibson mixes the language of public discourse, science, TV and everyday conversation in a chatty if bleak voice that is both accessible and satisfyingly challenging.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“Dobby Gibson reinvents poetic argument, often as surprised and delighted by its own wild and energetic means as it is by its wild and sometimes mordant conclusions.” —Dean Young

Library Journal
This latest from Beatrice Hawley Award- winner Gibson (Polar) is full of pithy phrases that, taken alone, will delight readers. Consider these lines from "The First American": "the act of/ breathing is little more than the ability/ to recover from running out of breath." Or these from "Maybe Minorly": "And as when the worst of the storm finally arrives—/ which is also the best of the storm—/ night falls." Unfortunately, these lines—so pleasingly organic and nebulously connected—do not occur often enough. Gibson's impulse is to finagle the poems toward narrative closure, as in "The Minneapolis Poem," when reaching the airport the speaker thinks: "strangers/ will search my body and find nothing except this poem, perhaps forgotten in my back pocket." Clearly the poem was not forgotten. In fact, the speaker's tendency to keep mentioning writing will pull many readers out of several otherwise engaging poems. VERDICT Best described as inconsistent, the poems here are caught quite severely between two styles—clear narrative (think Tony Hoagland) and epigrammatic phraseology (think Dean Young)—and to the disappointment of the reader finally settle on neither.—Stephen Morrow, Hilliard, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555976323
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 688,850
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Dobby Gibson is the author of two previous poetry books, Skirmish and Polar. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

From Parts Unknown 3

The First Billion Years 7

Silly String Theory 8

After the Slap, Before the Apology 10

What Follows Us Now Must Soon Enough Be Carried 11

The Barber 14

Beware of False Friends 15

Beauty Supply 16

Eeny Meeny Enemy 18

Self-Reliance 19

Infinite Familiar 21

The Pilot 23

Self-Storage 24

Hum 25

Maybe Minorly 26

The First American 27

Invidia 29

At the Ready 30

What We Have in Common Is Nothing We Possess 31

Warble 32

Pastor Pastoral 33

Poem for All My Old Best Friends 34

40 Fortunes 37

Ago 47

The Briars 48

The Minneapolis Poem 50

The Window Washer 52

In Case Of 53

Poem for My Sleeping Pills 54

No-Motion Replay 56

The Explorer 57

Waking in Someone Else's Clothes 58

The New Craziness 59

The Archeologists 60

Together We're Strangers 61

Charity Water 62

In Lieu of Flowers 64

The Painter 66

That Was Now, This Is Then 67

Scared Sacred 69

Full Body Scan 70

The Gentle Reader Asks the Poet, "Where Do You Get the Ideas for Your Poems?" 72

For Now 73

Nocturne 74

Postscript 75

It Becomes You 79

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    Get on the Dobby Gibson bus! Quirky and insightful, this talente

    Get on the Dobby Gibson bus! Quirky and insightful, this talented author's poems will dazzle you with their insights of both the mundane and large issues in life. They move quickly, dancing from idea to idea, image to image, but never forgetting to bring the reader along on the ride. Ranging from funny and light to deeply serious, these powerfully potent poems will capture your attention. Highly recommended

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