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Newest title, 2020, Get Up Said the World, is out now!
In Get Up Said the World, Gail Goepfert’s stunning full-length poetry collection, every poem is either an elegy or a love poem to the world. Bringing forth her lyrical and narrative gifts, Goepfert pays close attention to both the sorrow and beauty that are the price and prize of being fully human, looking unflinchingly at disconnection, violence, and death, while also turning her gaze to those unexpected moments of human redemption that make it all worthwhile. Like the book’s title, these poems are a wake-up call reminding us that “the simplest things last,” and that our true heart’s home can be found in the consolations of nature, family, and authentic human connection. With a photographer’s eye, Goepfert brings us poems that celebrate both light and shadow, but always with a poet’s determination to sing despite the noise of the world, "refus[ing] to hush the bee box inside me.” -Angela Narciso Torres, author of Blood Orange
We honor the object by giving it our full attention,” Goepfert states as she traces her ancestors and their shaping of both her childhood and its legacy. Many of her memories are our memories: porch swings, penny candy, the crowing of brothers as they win board games. With plainspoken simplicity and a sense of longing tempered by a sharp critical eye, Tapping Roots captures the stillness of the past, one of the realities that makes it so haunting: It doesn't move, but then again, we can't catch it. In these poems she holds her family members long enough for us to see ourselves in their contours. -Patrice Claeys, author of The Machinery of Grace and Lovely Daughter of the Shattering
Sure as Dante’s Commedia traces his journey into the afterlife, so Gail Goepfert’s A Mind on Pain permits passage into the netherworld of pain and its reconstituting reality. Yet this is no allegory. Goepfert’s searing sequence of poems immerses the reader in a battle within—against pain, its deafening noise and all-consuming hunger for attention, alienation from her own body, indeed against fear and despair—as much as in the battle without—against callous and dismissive doctors, against elixirs, nostrums and needles, against intrusion and violation. In language that alternates between razor-sharp description, mordant humor, and piercing lyrical evocation—“The sun hurls itself at me, a fistful of amber”—Goepfert still finds moments of grace: Not cures, but respite in kindness, patience, gentleness, and respect. “My body—a glass harp / tapped and tuned / until it sings.” Indeed, A Mind on Pain chants, croons, and fairly hollers with artistry, troubled beauty, and valiant, resonant humanity.
-Ralph Hamilton, author of Teaching a Man to Unstick His Tail