$16.95, 6"x 9", 80 pgs, perfect bound
Jennifer Barber’s Given Away views the contemporary world through the lens of Biblical psalms, the natural world, medieval history, and spiritual dimensions of lightness and darkness. The poems here travel from cities in Southern Spain to rural New England. Her lyrical meditations on the soul illuminate the process of searching for a self that may already be “given away” in the smallest of moments, like “light slanting through the trees.”
Jennifer Barber is a poet and editor of Salamander magazine. Barber attended Colby College in Maine and studied medieval literature at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Her first book ofpoems, Rigging the Wind, won the Kore Press First Book Award in 2002, chosen by Jane Miller. Visit Jennifer's website to keep up with her author appearances and other great projects.
Yesterday the clothesline
crashed to the ground
in wind, the rain gave way
to a finer grade of rain
dissolving the bay. I saw
a stonechat at the feeder,
a coal tit, a goldfinch, a wren,
a splash of sun
on the soaked fuchsia.
A giant arm, invisible,
forked a cloud from the mountain
to the beach and back.
Unlatching the gate, I heard
seven abundant years
followed by seven lean
in the ruined houses on the hill.
—excerpt from the poem "Achill Island Fears,"
Given Away, pg. 26
“Whether striking a ‘blue-yellow hood’ of flame from a wooden match, or scattering Ezekiel’s coals over the city to ‘sow the light of reckoning,’ Jennifer Barber’s poems are small, deft psalms, large in spiritual scope. She celebrates elementals: water and salt, darkness and light, silence and utterance, in an art of delicacy, quiet, and
precision.”—Rosanna Warren, author of Ghost in a Red Hat
“Jennifer Barber’s perceptions are so specific and surprising in these beautiful and rigorous poems, her diction and music so pure, her rhetoric so without excess or self-congratulations that her discipline as an artist seems supernatural. Stunning verbal artifacts, human in scale, are made vast, spiritualized by their implications.”—Vijay —Vijay Seshadri, author of The Long Meadow
“The speaker of these poems exists in a state of longing that resembles prayer. She announces that this is ‘the first day of the world’ and we know we are in divine presence. But it is not God or even god, but rather the search, the idea, the ‘light slanting through the trees’ that touches us. The book begins and ends with August—a year passed, a lifetime evolved.”—Pam Bernard, author of The Blood Garden