With her latest poetry collection, Gail Mazur once again shows her mastery of the descriptive-meditative narrative, powerfully evoking the past while writing from the firm ground of the present.
In Land’s End, we see Mazur writing with the kind of lyric authority, ever-deepening emotional range, and intellectual and social scope that her readers have come to expect in her poetry. Beautifully crafted elegies meet with reflections on her own life, her family, and artists who have come and gone. In the title poem, she leads readers through a garden, where new and old growth twists together in an “almanac of inheritances” that conjures the rich memory of poets who have passed on. In this space of remembrance, Mazur also charges us with the responsibility of nurturing art and artists of the future, especially in the face of the disheartening absurdities of contemporary politics. Contemplating the growth and decay so entwined in life, these poems invite us to consider both inevitable brokenness and necessary hope, writing “My work now: to continue learning to absorb the loss, / and live.”
Through tidal creeks and the weightless scenes of ukiyo-e woodcuts, in artists’ studios and along the frozen Charles River, Mazur connects passionately with the world around her. Carrying with her the undeniable presence of loss and of time past, she engages deeply with the present, her historic memory informing a deep concern for contemporary life. Reading Land’s End, we find ourselves with the poet: as if here at land’s end, here on the coast, urgent, together we’d have energies to do battle forever. As if we could rescue the guttering world….
About the Author
Gail Mazur is the founding director of the Blacksmith House Poetry series and the author of six previous books of poems, including They Can’t Take That Away from Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Insitute of Radcliffe College as well as the St. Botolph Club Foundation Distinguished Artist Award.
"In this comprehensive volume, Mazur demonstrates a remarkable mastery of poetic technique as she depicts human relationships in all of their ambiguities. . . . Here, as elsewhere, the speaker boldly and sensitively proclaims her own lack of understanding. It is this vulnerability, equipped and complemented with extensive erudition, that makes Mazur’s poems as poignant as they are accomplished in their craft." — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"In her honed and arresting new collection of poetry, Land’s End, Gail Mazur rightly observes that the sycamores along Memorial Drive in Cambridge do something different than the showy blaze of other trees in fall, 'patterning the road and the old river/with their own kind of darkness and light.' . . . In these new and selected poems, Mazur, who lives in Cambridge and Provincetown, writes with sensual specificity of the Cape, its mussels and sand flats and sandpipers, a hummingbird moth, turnips grown in Eastham, the humble and sublime." — Nina MacLaughlin
"In Land’s End, Mazur has done the hard work, building a palette of primal elements, the metaphors of place — gulls, sand, pebbles worn by tides — to express the yearnings of mortality." — Provincetown Independent
"Before I had received Gail Mazur’s Land’s End, it had already been praised to me as an artifact, a book that looks and feels handsome. In this day of cookie-cutter template publication and undistinguished design, that’s already a quality to celebrate, and not simply incidental to the poet’s own work." — Jim Kates