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One Body


88 pages / 6.00 x 8.50 inches / None


  Paperback / 9780807132401 / October 2007

Winner of the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry

One Body is Margaret Gibson's most intimate collection of poems to date. Written as if to honor the injunction "Work to simplify the heart," the poems are direct, empathetic, and tender in their study of life and death. The thirteen poems of the opening sequence, as well as other poems throughout, look steadily at life and death until they are transparently "one body." "Closer to death," she writes, "I want great faithand great doubt." Whether the focus is personal or social, Gibson has written the poems in this stunning collection "because I want to see / how the body goes still / how the mind, how the lens of the eye / magnifies to an emptiness / so deep, so flared wide / there is everywhere field and the Source / of field."One Body is the work of a richly contemplative poet.

I was drawn to it perhaps because of its color,
mysterious as the Old Russian cry to God, gospodi.
I did not bow to it.
My spine straightened
as I stood quietly there to study its architectural trinities,

petals that opened down as if to touch damp earth, three
that lifted skyward, close enough
to make a tent,
a sanctuary
within which three more, lavender and yellow, hovered over

the pistil, white and still. I remembered the door in my old dream,
beyond which, I once thought, the riddle of birth and death
lay revealed.
The door was white. It was shining. It was shut—
but no. It wasn't shut. It wasn't even a door. It was the light of a single eye.

Whatever I look at, it looks back.

From "Iris" published in One Bodyby Margaret Gibson.
Copyright © 2007 by Margaret Gibson. All rights reserved.

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

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