Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review of Peggy Dobreer's "in the lake of your bones"

I've read, published, and listened to Peggy Dobreer's poems for over ten years. Her first collection, in the lake of your bones (copyright 2012 Moon Tide Press), offers readers a first-class opportunity to explore the ephemeral elegance of both the poet and her work.

lake is divided into three sections: “in the silt,” which presents her more concrete, narrative poems; “in the marrow,” which draws the reader into deeper aspects of love and desire, central themes of Dobreer's work; and, “in the water,” with poems, like a series of lovely pebbles, skip across the surface of one's mind to gently sink, and then germinate in the unconscious.

At first, the poems appear top-heavy, loaded with mercurial rhythms (Dobreer has a background in dance and experimental theater), contemporary language, and mythical imagery. But - this is where Dobreer shines. With the right amount of restraint, she keeps the work timeless, a difficult task for most post-modern poets who prefer to confess instead of extoll. The poems remain fresh and vital, as well a genuine pleasure to experience, as in the poem, “First Love”:

The rhythm of my blood
beats along the river of my being.

The joy of motion lifts my leg
and tosses it into the air,

follows the sensation of each foot
on the ground. Gravities embrace.

Tears must roll down cheeks
for spirits to lift again. And arms,

they are lifted into gesture. Look!
It's Lord Shiva swaying to the spin

of Earth on her axis. Rise up. Hear
voices of angels. Rise up. Set yourself free.

Feel sun on your face and wind at your heels.
Know that when you hold your lover in grass

at dawn, you can gaze into the soil, hear fossils
breathe. Here is the now and forever. Here

is the falling into grace. Here is the rapture of
a poem as it moves across my face.

According to academics, there are poetry schools/movements (Imagists, Beats, New Formalists, etc.). Dobreer belongs to the most successful school; the Alchemists. Poetry, as I have often said, is an alchemical process. With in the lake of your bones, Dobreer has given the world a philosopher's stone.

in the lake of your bones, copyright 2012 Peggy Dobreer, Moon Tide Press,, 69 pgs, ISBN 978-0-9839651-2-1, $15.00

Note: Dobreer will be reading/signing on the following dates: Sunday, April 10, at 7:30 pm., with Eric Morago at Skylight Books (1818 n. Vermont Ave, L.A., 90027); Sunday, April 29, at 4 pm at the G2 Gallery (1503 Abbot Kinney, Venice) with Mariano Zaro, Sarah Maclay, and Brendan Constantine.)

copyright 2012 Marie Lecrivain

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