The finely crafted poems in WAVING BACK, Gail Thomas's third collection, examine the ties that both fray and bind us to our families of origin and those of choice. Using language that is clear and startling, meditative and joyful, Thomas's poems reverberate with musicality and emotion. Whether writing about aging and loss or the sensual pleasure of plucking an artichoke, she brings the natural world into close focus. From a carnival in Provincetown to a ghostly buck fence in Laramie, these are poems of quiet power that allow the reader to feel "alive with whir and dart" as well as to experience a "banquet of grief." In our age of distraction, Thomas invites us to listen more closely to the voices of the living and the dead.
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In these finely crafted and accessible poems Gail Thomas waves back at existence, creating stories full of the details of what it means to be human. With intelligence and humanity she invites the reader to share in the joy, grief, fun, and more often some complicated mix of emotions, brought on by a closely examined moment. Thomas brings all of life and death to the page. She is a poet who understands that Butter, Ambition, and The Delivery Room After Chemo all deserve our prayers and our poems.