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From Ermously Sad...Sad, so sad - compared to what? To your earlier more oblivious state? It never was oblivious eugh - always those presentiments of sadness prickling the limbic. Now a voice says, Get outside yourself, go walk on the flats. The tide's gone out - but your little metal detector will detect little metallic coins of ermous sadness in the teeming wet sand, and then, the tide will come back, erasing, cleansing! And you, standing there in the salty scouring air - will you still be ermously sad, While the other world, outside your tiny purview, struck by iron, reels? World of intentional iron, pure savage organized iron of the world, it hasn't the time that you have for your puny ermous sadness. Gail Mazur's mastery of narrative and meditative verse pervades Zeppo's First Wife , which includes twenty-two new poems as well as excerpts from all of Mazur's four previous books. Epitomized by the worldly longing of the title poem, with its comic bravura and underlying poignancy, the new poems resonate throughout the collection, particularly with the earliest poem included here, the much-anthologized Baseball, a stunning bird's-eye view of human foibles and passions. Her poems, deeply moving acts of empathy, give the feel of contemporary life, full of paradoxical griefs and desires - from the fraught, luscious Eden of the baseball park and the fragility of our closest human ties to the moral implications for America in a world where power and wars are cataclysmic for the weak as well as the strong. Pushing the stylistic envelope of the contemporary meditative lyric, Mazur's poetry crackles with linguistic invention, enacting the process of coming to terms with difficulty - a task she executes on behalf of us all with rare imagination, wit, and intelligence.
Gail Mazur's most recent book, They Can't Take That Away from Me, was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award. She is Distinguished Writer in Residence in Emerson College's Writing, Literature, and Publishing Program and founding director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Center. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College as well as the St. Botolph Club Foundation Distinguished Artist Award.