05 - Where We Start by Debra Gingerich Jun 27, 2008 22:57:46 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Jun 27, 2008 22:57:46 GMT 2
Where We Start
Through contemplative lyrics, historical narratives and edgy prose poems, Debra Gingerich’s first collection of poetry probes the intersections of self and other, private and public, and the individual and community. The title, Where We Start, is a fitting description for the many ways that these poems explore the beginnings of and in a life, including cultural identity, childhood experiences, and a new marriage.
These poems stay true to their complex questioning. With a sense of paradox and wit, a willingness to explore the poem’s surprising turns and defer comfort, Gingerich builds an impressive collection of poetry that is urgent and compelling to any reader willing to explore the dark corners and sharp turns of any life’s migration.
To My Yugoslavian In-Laws
If we could speak,
I would tell you that we have
trees here too, and rivers.
I know how to hammer
a nail. Transatlantic phone calls
are expensive, even for us
with our two cars, dishwasher
and American salaries. That he
will not get lazy or forget
about the ways he needed to make money
during the war, the merchandise
exchanged in dark corners of Turkey.
He is still thankful for good health.
He passes on every kiss
you tell him to give me.
I would admit that he misses
the stone beaches of the Adriatic,
he accepts the Atlantic's murky water
as part of the compromise. He thinks
Lancaster's streets are too vacant
at night and there is no place
to ride a bike. Also, that I wouldn't take
your name and will never
believe the wine in the cup
turns to blood. That he and I can't
agree on a slipcover for the couch.
That there is no perfect place
Praise for Where We Start:
“In smart, edgy and moving poems Debra Gingerich explores the sometimes volatile, sometimes quiet impact of social and political change. Whether it’s her own Mennonite background or her husband’s life in Eastern Europe as Yugoslavia was breaking apart, she shows us the effects of exile, both literal and internal. Indeed, these poems get under the skin to those inner landscapes where traumas and truths arrive ‘in the candor of night.’ Love and what endangers it, place and how it is violated, tradition in all its beauty and limitation—these poems take on major themes of our times with wit, clarity, and craft—and with the passionate intelligence of someone determined to make of the fragments a new world, in which lovers willingly learn not just to fly but how to ‘carry each other’s weight.’”
“These poems, windows onto worlds-within-this-world, stubbornly eschew the sentimental, buggy-riding, creamed corn version of ‘Mennonite.’ They serve up, instead, a complex, glinting, hard-edged testimony of faith, love, and history that ranges from barnyard to Balkans, tracing everything from recipes to bomb casings, a brave braille of the human heart that persists, that prevails. It’s a singular and courageous book.”
About the author:
Debra Gingerich is the author of Where We Start. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Mochila Review, MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry, Whiskey Island Magazine, The Writer’s Chronicle and others. Gingerich received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College. She works as the Web communications and publications manager at Manatee Community College.
ISBN: 1-931038-39-2, 90 pages, $12.95 US, $18.95 Can.
Cascadia Publishing House, Spring 2007
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
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