Gary Margolis’s eighth book of poetry takes us inside the imagination of a museum of islands. With selections from Runner Without a Number and Time Inside, collections that speak to the Boston Marathon bombing and his experience of facilitating a poetry workshop in a maximum security prison, Margolis continues to explore how the facts of our lives—grief and joy, clarity and confusion—both sustain and lift us, and lead us to meanings in and beyond words. With humor and paradox, he takes us into the many emotional and natural landscapes of New England and our nation—from a town’s summer book sale to an activist scaling the Statue of Liberty; from Chagall to Facebook; from Emerson to Stephen Hawking; from Fenway Park to our state of the union, each poem is expressed with Margolis’s characteristic attention to detail and language, to the associative possibility with what we know, and to the mystery that allows us to walk through a life’s museum of islands.
author of Things As It Is
The kind of imagination that matters most to me in poems is imagination married to the actual—what exists right here, right now. It’s far more difficult to reveal the truths and mysteries of human existence just as it is than to invent rival visions of it. I love Gary Margolis’s poems because they are direct conduits to truth—plainspoken, surprising, and profound.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Failure
There are many fine human qualities in Gary Margolis’s poetry, many earthly and natural wonders, though perhaps honesty of vision and feeling is the most sublime. It’s impossible not to trust the speaker in these poems; harder to be both open to nuance and private (read: mysterious) at once. But these poems are; one feels a welcoming, as if to an intimate conversation, an invitation to a gathering that includes Stephen Hawking, Fritz Perls, James Wright, a “turtle/large as a frying pan. . .” not to mention therapy horses and the “half-dreams of halfbacks/ and clusters of ripening. . . .” Margolis is a seer intent on teaching us how to “love our loneliness.” In other words, how to survive the terrifying power of our misgivings.
author of Blue Monday and From the Book of Shine
Open this book up on any page and you’ll find a line, a phrase, a stanza, a poem that jumps out at you. I did. There are poems here that will line the walls of your subconscious and keep you company for a long while to come.
Gary Margolis is the author of 7 other books of poems, including his previous collected poems, Raking the Winter Leaves (Bauhan 2013), Below the Falls, Fire in the Orchard, Falling Awake, and The Day We Still Stand Here. His memoir, Seeing the Songs: A Poet’s Journey to the Shamans in Ecuador, is recently published. He is Executive Director Emeritus of College Mental Health Services at Middlebury College where he was also a part time Associate Professor of English and American Literatures. A recipient of Vermont Arts Council and Millay Colony Awards, and a Robert Frost Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, his poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, American Scholar, Poetry Northwest, and the Journal of the American College Health Association. He has taught at the Bread Loaf, University of Tennessee and University of Vermont Writers’ Conferences. Dr. Margolis was awarded the Sam Dietzel Award for mental health practice in Vermont by the clinical psychology department of Saint Michaels College and the Covey Community Award by the Counseling Service of Addison County. He lives with his wife, Wendy Lynch, in Cornwall, Vermont.