From Publishers Weekly
Gallagher's big, emotion-rich volume is her first in 14 years: she enjoys dual reputations as an accessible, likable maker of verse about scenes and spaces in women's lives (somewhat like Jane Hirshfeld or Mary Oliver) and as the widow of short story master Raymond Carver and curator of his legacy. "I can't help my changes any more/ than you could yours," says a poem on the anniversary of Carver's death. There are other elegies, and poems that commemorate other friends and family among the living; outline her European, Asian and sub-Arctic travels; and pursue the lessons she draws from South and East Asian religious practices. Gallagher's own fight against cancer provides another subtext for many poems and the explicit subject for a few. She celebrates her survival while finding "Time/ to admit the limitations of death." The many who cherished her earlier verse will find the new work profound. (May)
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*Starred Review* Gallagher, a cherished poet and short story writer, evokes the power of the unseen as well as the seen with breathtaking clarity, creating metaphors so surprising, radiant, and apt that the world seems to expand in their wake. This sense of opening is intrinsic to Gallagher's new poems. Substantial yet lambent, earthy and spiritual, these are her best works in an already incandescent oeuvre. The collection begins with "My Unopened Life," a poem charged with fairy-tale magic as a place setting on a tablecloth acquires cosmic dimension. In another worlds-within-world poem, "Oil Spot," Gallagher writes, "The door to beauty always / stands open." The indiscriminate wounds of war are the subject of startlingly precise reflections on her World War II-era childhood and on the Vietnam War, and both life and death are palpably present in ravishing poems of Vancouver, Ireland, Romania, and Egypt. Losing her hair during cancer treatments summons up contrasting visions of the women of Auschwitz and Buddhist monks. Gallagher remembers her mother and her late husband, Raymond Carver, and finds enlightenment in birds, the moon, rain, dusk, and lilacs. So compelling are Gallagher's graceful poems, they leave the reader feeling "rearranged from the cells out." Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved