“A bold and passionate new collection… Intimacy is rarely conveyed as gracefully as in Bass’s lustrous poems.” Booklist
Indigo, the newest collection by Ellen Bass, merges elegy and praise poem in an exploration of life’s complexities. Whether her subject is oysters, high heels, a pork chop, a beloved dog, or a wife’s return to health, Bass pulls us in with exquisite immediacy. Her lush and precisely observed descriptions allow us to feel the sheer primal pleasure of being alive in our own “succulent skin,” the pleasure of the gifts of hunger, desire, touch. In this book, joy meets regret, devotion meets dependence, and most importantly, the poet so in love with life and living begins to look for the point where the price of aging overwhelms the rewards of staying alive. Bass is relentless in her advocacy for the little pleasures all around her. Her gaze is both expansive and hyperfocused, celebrating (and eulogizing) each gift as it is given and taken, while also taking stock of the larger arc. She draws the lines between generations, both remembering her parents’ lives and deaths and watching her own children grow into the space that she will leave behind. Indigo shows us the beauty of this cycle, while also documenting the deeply human urge to resist change and hang on to the life we have, even as it attempts to slip away.
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|Publisher:||Copper Canyon Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
When you finally, after long suffering, lay
the length of your body on mine, isn’t it
like the strata of earth, the pressure
of time on sand, mud, bits of shell, the moving
water, wind, ice that carry the minutes,
minerals that fuse sediment into rock.
How to bear the weight, with every
flake of bone pressed in? O love,
it is balm and it seals. It binds us tight
as the fur of a rabbit to the rabbit.
When you strip it, grasping the edge
of the sliced skin, pulling the glossy membranes
apart, the body is warm and limp. If you could,
you’d climb inside that wet, slick skin
and carry it on your back. This is not
neat and white and lacy like a wedding,
not the bright effervescence of champagne
spilling over the throat of the bottle. This visceral
bloody union that is love but
beyond love. Beyond charm and delight
the way you to yourself are past charm and delight.
This is the shucked meat of love, the alleys and broken
glass of love, the dizzy, hoarse cry, the stubborn hunger.