Selected for the UCSF Memory and Aging Center by Hellman Visiting Artist Jane Hirshfield
The three November poems of the month come from an extraordinary forthcoming book, The Broken Cup, by Margaret Gibson. The poems were written in response to what Gibson has called “traveling The Way of Alzheimer’s” with her poet-husband David McKain. After David’s initial, tentative diagnosis in 2007, Gibson wrote no poems for two years; but then, as she has described it, poetry returned, and writing became for her a kind of grounding lightning rod that allowed both moving forward and transformation. “Poetry,” Gibson writes, “is an animate form—it breathes, it discovers and restores voice. A poem is another way of being present.” The poems below, and the full book they are drawn from (to be published by Louisiana State University Press in fall 2014), bring a breathtaking eloquence to the witnessed, lived through, resilient, and necessary intertwining of full presence and love.
Margaret Gibson is the author of a memoir and ten books of poems, most recently One Body and Second Nature. Her numerous honors include awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of America, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her husband David McKain is the author of three books of poems and a memoir. Both taught for many years in the English Department of University of Connecticut. Read more