A Pushcart Prize 2016 for: Title Poem "Broken Cup"
BROKEN CUP, POEMS BY MARGARET GIBSON, was published by Louisiana State University Press on September 8, 2014. The poems in BROKEN CUP bring a breath-taking eloquence to what Margaret Gibson has called “traveling the Way of Alzheimer’s” with her poet-husband David McKain. After his initial and tentative diagnosis she wrote no poems for two years; but then poetry returned, and writing became a lightning rod that grounded her and allowed for moving ahead and for transformation. “Poetry,” Gibson has written, “ is an animate form. It breathes; it discovers and restores voice. A poem is another way of being present.”
As the poems in BROKEN CUP bear witness to how Alzheimer’s erodes memory and deconstructs language and cognitive function, they never forget to see what is or to ask what may remain of the Self. These poems are not therapy, but their cumulative effect may be redemptive. Moving, unflinching and tender, acknowledging pain and frustration and grief, time and time again the poet uncovers the grace of an abiding love. The poems encourage—that is, as the root of the word suggests they give heart as well as voice to an experience that is deeply personal yet shared by all too many who suffer because of this terrible and as yet unstoppable illness.
Margaret Gibson Poetry
“Imagination and many kinds of love tune these poems, which chart an experience of being in the world in a radically new and unforeseen way, and manage to achieve, often against the odds, the best kind of affirmation—that of the undeceived.”—Eamon Grennan
“Among its many virtues, Broken Cup is a great love story, and I’m using the word ‘great’ both carefully and precisely. . .. Her poems have an exquisite lyrical intelligence; they probe with a hard-won delicacy.”—Stephen Dunn
“To make a knowable, shareable harvest from experience otherwise almost uncapturable is a crucible task of poems. Margaret Gibson brings a master poet’s breathtaking eloquence to the witnessed, lived through, resilient intertwining of full presence and love in these pages describing the shared journey of her poet-husband’s Alzheimer’s. Broken Cup is indispensable, for both its necessity and its extraordinary beauty. A care-giving friend to whom I showed Gibson’s poems replied with an unsurpassable description: they are “lifeboats of recognition.” In this book, Alzheimer’s has found its voice."—Jane Hirshfield