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Margaret Rabb

Margaret Rabb

Margaret Rabb was the author of Granite Dives and three chapbooks: Figments of the Firmament, Old Home, and Greatest Hits: Margaret Rabb 1995-2007. Her work was published in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Georgetown Review, Literal Latte, The Madison Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She was the director of the Creative Writing Program at Wichita State University.




Granite Dives

The Republic of SelfGranite Dives

$12.00 paper | 76 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-932826-88-6
Publication Date: April 2000
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In this book poems about motherhood and domesticity mingle with poems about love and nature, most of them formal, all of them crystalline and full of an odd, bumpy vernacular sense of voice. Whimsical and urgent in turn, the style is the subject in Granite Dives, and indeed one hears echoes of Stevens, but also A. R. Ammons, whose nuanced syntactical tightrope-walking Rabb has somehow managed to appropriate without imitating. And, like Ammons, Rabb has an ability to cast a cold and objective eye at the natural world, letting the particulars rise through language that lightens the spirit, amazingly, with its breathless and (seemingly) effortless ability to capture in words the sense of the human spirit in flight.

"This is a wise and mischievous book. 'Dropping in at The Mothers of Twins Club,' following retirees around Pompeii, standing in the stillness of Chartres, Margaret Rabb offers the companionship of a sharp, generous fellow traveler. She is a master of incantation, stories, jokes, meditation –– and always, always the language, which she weaves in astonishing ways, almost as if it were light."
         —Jeanne Murray Walker

"These are poems of high intelligence and formal beauty. Never straining for effect, they pour forth their music in a crystal stream."
         —Carolyn Kizer


Low Owl Illusion

Early but already broad daylight this morning
a barred owl glided across the path, so close I saw
wing edges split by a broken shaft, a feathery flaw,
and thin claws that trailed like exposed wiring.
Halfway up a poplar she lit by a nubbly opening,
slipped inside a gap healed around a lost limb’s raw
socket, and sank instantly into the dark hollow,
all but her tail, like a bracket on the bark, a warning.
At the high end of hearing, voices thin as a wafer
bled from the tree. She squeezed back out, turned
on me her great fixed eyes and stared down: You.
She held still, but the longer I looked, the less I saw her.
I mean, it was only by blinking back the form I yearned
for that she stayed in view at all, whatever she was and who.