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Broken Cup


L.E. Phillabaum Poetry Award

92 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807156421 / September 2014
Finalist for the Poet's Prize
A Pushcart Prize-winner for "Broken Cup" (title poem)
Broken Cup brings breathtaking eloquence to what Margaret Gibson describes as “traveling the Way of Alzheimer’s” with her husband, poet David McKain. After his initial and tentative diagnosis, Gibson suspended her writing for two years; but then poetry returned, and the creative process became the lightning rod that grounded her and presented a path forward. The poems in Broken Cup bear witness to how Alzheimer’s erodes memory and cognitive function, but they never forget to see what is present and to ask what may remain of the self.
Moving and unflinchingly honest in the acknowledgment of pain, frustration, and grief, the poems uncover, time and time again, the grace of abiding love. Gibson gives heart as well as voice to an experience that is deeply personal, yet shared by all too many.

Margaret Gibson is the author of ten books of poems and one prose memoir. A native of Virginia, now a resident of Preston, Connecticut, she is a nationally and internationally recognized poet. She has received numerous honors, including the Connecticut Book Award and the Melville Kane Award, and her collection The Vigil was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry. Her website is

Praise for Broken Cup

“Pensive and memorable work.”—Booklist

“[A] gorgeous love letter to her husband, whose memory is being worn away by Alzheimer's.”—NPR

“The book is strangely calming because its graceful and lyrical lines give perspective to tragedy. Sadness shadows the reading, for sure, but we are made better for being allowed in.”—Washington Independent Review of Books

Broken Cup is indispensable for both its necessity and its extraordinary beauty. A care-giving friend to whom I showed Gibson's poems replied with an unsurpassable description: they are ‘lifeboats of recognition.’ In this book, Alzheimer's has found its voice.”—Jane Hirshfield, author of Come, Thief

“Among its many virtues, Broken Cup is a great love story. Gibson's poems have an exquisitely lyrical intelligence; they probe with hard-won delicacy.”—Stephen Dunn, author of Here and Now

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