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Gail Martin

Gail Martin

Gail Martin, a Michigan native, grew up in Flint. She earned a B.A. from Kalamazoo College and completed her Master’s degree in clinical social work. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Rattle, Primavera, Poetry Northwest and Folio. Martin was selected by Alice Fulton as the 1999 Winner of the National Poet Hunt sponsored by The MacGuffin. She lives with her husband and three left-handed daughters in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

 

The Hourglass Heart

The Hourglass HeartThe Hourglass Heart

$14.00 paper | 85 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-34-0
Publication Date: Fall 2003
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org

An Inland Seas Poetry Book

"Here’s a book that will draw us all in. We may be taken, first, with the fresh invention of the God poems, those lucid yet subtle miniatures unlike anything we’ve seen before. Or the ‘Woman of Pearl’ and ‘Woman of Paper’ that explore what a woman may be, but obliquely, suggestively. Then we begin to feel a pervasive sadness under the rich images. At first it’s the everyday sadness of ‘Lemons’ or the quirky sadness of ‘Why Counting Sheep Doesn’t Work for Mothers.’ Before long, we’re drawn into more explicit grief, and the poet’s sorrow is allowed to resonate beneath the metaphors of Double Dutch or ghosts or a carved totem pole. Restraint and skill merge with genuine anguish to create poems that are sure to hold and move us."
        —Conrad Hilberry

"An intelligent, generous spirit roams these poems, embracing the world in all its grief, intransigence, and glory. Whatever her subject—nature, family, or science—Gail Martin uncovers subtleties and new wonders, rewarding us with her insights and charming us with her brave, clear voice. What a marvelous book!"
        —Barbara Ras, author of Bite Every Sorrow

"If the landscape of Gail Martin’s poems is a domestic one, then it is Emily Dickinson’s wild domesticity, where innocuous-looking teapots contain tempests, where lemons stacked in a white bowl imply grief. If these are the poems of a mother, of a wife—which they are—then they make the claim that motherdom, wifedom, is the kingdom of God."
        —Diane Seuss

"Martin's poems sing in various pitches as well: pitches of anger and love, family and solitude. Her combinaton of traditional forms and lyricl subject matter makes this collection a uniue combination of disipline and evanescence."
        —Cindy Clem, Shenandoah, Winter 2004

Poem

Any God

The rocks beneath her heart began to move
the night her daughter lost her native tongue.
No god of French-milled soap and lavender
could build a church on cradled hands and love.

The night that artist lost her native tongue
something seismic dropped, rolled away,
faith in that childish church of hands tested
and sung, the green-faced violinist played.

Something seismic drops through an open heart
these nights, gone missing between the cradle and now.
The face of the violinist green and dark,
fiddling toward some unknown gift, not found.

Gone missing between the cradle and now, hands reach
for any god—of hardboiled eggs, of nail heads—
fiddling on toward gifts not recognized nor found.
The girl keeps playing, beating time. She says

any god will do: god of plum pits, ice cubes,
dog hair, there’s always something to believe in.
This girl—the gift we recognize—found
and rocked, o hourglass god, beneath my heart.