The New Yorker has written, "Gregerson's rich aesthetic allows her best poems to resonate metaphysically." In this new volume, Linda Gregerson makes clearer than ever her passionate premise that the metaphysical only and always derives from our profound embeddedness in physical reality.
From subjects as diverse as the Nazi occupation of Poland and a breakthrough discovery in cell biology, Gregerson seeks to distill "the shape of the question," the tenuous connection between knowing and suffering, between the brightness of the body and the shadows of the mind. "Choose any angle you like," she writes, "The world is split in two." One poem, "Bicameral," moves from a child's cleft palate to a gunshot wound to the hanging skeins of a fabric in a postwar art exhibit. In the wool cut from the sheep to make the materials of art, she finds a tangled record of violence and repair: "The body it becomes will ever / bind it to the human and a trail of woe."
Longtime readers of Gregerson's poetry will be facinated by her departure from the supple tercets in which she has worked for nearly twenty years: Magnetic North is a bold anthology of formal experiments. It is also a heartening act of sustained attention from one of our most mindful poets.