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Dear Ghosts,: Poems Paperback – March 4, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*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 Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; 1st edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555974937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555974930
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,759,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce L. Murdock on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
You can do nothing better for yourself than to read Dear Ghosts,. Tess Gallagher has always been among the best of American poets. Her most recent work continues to add jewels to the crown of great poetry. As the poems engage us, we become aware why poetry is so necessary to the human spirit. Dear Ghosts, opens us to emotion. Within its enacted drama, we walk the difficult but necessary terrain of reaching out to others, thereby realizing ourselves. Finally, Gallagher explores the frontier of language itself, continually reminding us that in words we discover self. The best books of poetry, no matter how deeply we linger and meditate, no matter how we value them for their ability to yield in reading after reading, are also page-turners, and this is a book, once begun, you won't want to put down. And one you'll pick up again, year after year.--Alice Derry, Peninsula College
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Format: Hardcover
A book of poems by Tess Gallagher is an event. They're beautifully presented and beautifully written. And they are powerful. The poet doesn't seem satisfied to write about pretty things; she wants her poems to matter. And they do. Poems about murderers and refugees and sad, tragic lives; poems about war and childhood and marriages and joy; and poems about the dead (those "dear ghosts"): a sparrow, her father, her mother, her husband. This is a book to savor. Read it slowly, then read it again. And again. It's so easy to miss the nuances, the subleties. Tess Gallagher writes of enormous themes, and she does so in small and striking language - intimately. You will devour this book and crave to "take the next bite / and say, I believe it."
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Format: Hardcover
Published fourteen years after the author's previous poetry book, Dear Ghosts is the seventh collection and long-awaited return of Tess Gallagher's poetic voice. Featuring poems in which ghosts of the past are summoned and discoursed with in the present day, Dear Ghosts speaks with such spectral figures as the deceased beloved, the long-dead father, and victims of holocaust and war. Gallagher confronts her own aging, illness, and mortality with grace, modesty, and good humor in this insightful and reflective collection. "Knives in the Borrowed House": Don't sharpen them. / Expectation, more dangerous / than any blade.
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