“The poems in this stunning first volume form a procession both into and away from unmitigated hearbreak: of a mother over the death of a daughter, of a granddaughter upon learning of a grandfather’s suicide, of a member of the infinite family of redeemed sinners. Throughout, Gwendolyn Jensen’s grace is at once relentless and restrained, every bit as voluptuous as it is formal.
You hear the drumbeat of a fierce insistence in these gorgeous, metrical poems. Consider the spare elegy to the speaker’s failing dog, Lucy:
There is a code A mindful pattern that defines a dog, The dignity of dog—to lie to cool The belly in a gutter puddle, to sense The sense of rolling in dead squirrel, to know The art, the science, of separation, When to wait, to let go, to be done.
Each of these poems could have been uttered while lighting an altar candle in a large, empty cathedral. Listen to the ceremonial silence that swells the end of each line with its echoes. They are enormously private, yet enormously ours. For that, we owe this poet not only rapt attention, but gratitude.”
— Frannie Lindsay, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award for “Our Vanishing,” due out from Red Hen Press in the spring of 2014.