"In the teeth of Gibbs’s original style, one is struck, dazzled, seared, pleased, and astonished by her singular craft—how the carcass of language is broken, delivered, and devoured in the poet’s hunger to taste the flesh of language, desire, and myth."—Rachel Eliza Griffiths, author of Seeing the Body
"In snakes and babies, Jules Gibbs explores the self as alien and as intimate. Through her gendered lens she envisions psychological and mythic origins of the self. From that vantage her poems navigate the social and political landscapes that define some of the madness of our broken culture. Her poems engage conflicts between the inner life and the world—not to be resolved but to be savored as language probing life."—Peter Balakian, author of the Pulitzer Prize-wining collection Ozone Journal
The one-word titles of Jules Gibbs’s snakes and babies are potentialities of immense expansion. These poems are incapable of being singular, inert, quiet. They are manifold, animated, agitated by energies of politics, dreams, and desires—systems of menace and pleasure. She obeys Celan’s advice to “speak, but keep yes and no unsplit,” but in all other ways is disobedient to “love’s old patterns.” The weather is rain. The ecology is woman. The time is violence. The angels are emus, flightless and endangered. The voice talks back to our alienation and annihilation. In Gibbs’s hands, poems are a “voodoo that eats through paper,” an alternate history that wounds as it cures.
from SNAKE . . .
Ancient Greeks would lay the dreamer
on the stretched skin of a ram,
rub her in oils — frankincense and myrrh, make
her qodesh, mostly holy, and watch over
until she dreamt her own cure.
But the mystics are extinct, no one left
to read the cryptic of skin’s scarabs, this missive
of entrails. Every dreamer abandoned
to an excess of flesh — every dreamer
her own oracle and anointer.
Jules Gibbs is the author of the book of poems, Bliss Crisis, published by The Sheep Meadow Press. She is the recipient of fellowships from Ucross Foundation, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Willapa Bay Artist-in-Residence Program. She has taught literature and creative writing at Hamilton College, and currently teaches at Syracuse University. Gibbs is the poetry editor for The Progressive Magazine, and she is a long-time board member of Punto de Contacto Gallery, where she curates the Cruel April reading series. She currently serves as vice president for the Adjuncts United teachers’ union, representing part-time faculty. julesgibbs.com
Distributed for The Sheep Meadow Press
6.5 x 9, 82 pages