In this collection Jane Gentry evokes, in images as haunting as the Kentucky landscape, a garden thriving with the flowers of memory, a physical world that reflects a realm of transcendence. In this garden, cosmic harmony reveals itself in the "ciphers" of roots and worms, in a piece of blue willow china-"a blaze of balance, of wholeness"-that survives a fire in which a lonely, tormented neighbor died.
The white sheets crack in the wind,
fat bellies of sails
sweet as round stomachs of children.
Stark, lovely, elegiac, gently surreal, Gentry's poems resonate and echo in the vast spaces of the heart; long after being read, lines return, lines like those of the lovely "In the Moment of My Death (For My Father)" that beg to be memorized:
In the moment of my death
may your old happiness light my way;
and the image of your face
smiling, happy at my coming,
be a lantern in the dark.
The taste of desire, the pang of remembered loss, the sorrow of leaving a house-Jane Gentry has found a way to make these things new. A Garden in Kentucky is a place of mystery, terror, beauty, and wonder, a garden to which readers will find themselves retuning again and again.
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