MYSTIC — Connecticut Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson will be the featured poet Sunday at the Arts Café Mystic's September event, which will also include music from the much-loved local musicians known as the River Gods along with a poetry reading from Vivian Shipley.
Gibson, the author of 13 books of poems and a professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, will read from her recently released book of poetry, "The Glass Globe," the final book in what she calls her "loosely woven trilogy" of books that began in 2014 with "Broken Cup" and continued with "Who Hears the Wood Thrush" in 2018.
The trilogy, said her publisher, LSU Press, is a "meditative focus" on Gibson's experience of her late husband’s Alzheimer’s disease. In the new collection, said the publisher, "she blends elegies of personal bereavement with elegies for the earth during the ongoing global crisis wrought by climate change."
Gibson, who lives in Preston, Conn., said by email Tuesday that "The Glass Globe" "weaves together poems of personal bereavement with those of environmental grief."
"Its reach is both intimate and global," said Gibson. "While grief is the steady pulse audible throughout these poems, let's remember that grief is one of the measures of what is immeasurable: love."
"And so," she added, "'The Glass Globe' is also about our love for each other and for this Earth."
"Gibson’s poems personalize the vastness of climate catastrophe while simultaneously enlarging personal grief beyond the limits of self-absorption," LSU continued. "A work of great compassion and vision, 'The Glass Globe' is a necessary, heartbreaking book from one of our most compelling poets."
Gibson, who has received grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets, is also the editor of "Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis." Her book "The Vigil" was a finalist for the National Book Award. As poet laureate, she received a grant from the Academy of American Poets.
Fronted by husband/wife songwriters Ben and Nancy Parent, the Rivergods are "a fun, original, working band based in southeastern Connecticut that has played its own heartfelt harmony-rich folky/rootsy/rockish music (and occasionally, some choice covers!) since 1997," according to information provided by the Arts Café, and the includes "some of the finest, most talented players in the region."
Shipley, who was appointed a Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor in 1998, has taught full time at Southern Connecticut State University since 1969. She was named an SCSU Faculty Scholar in 2000, 2005 and 2008. Her 12th book of poems, "Archaeology of Days," published in 2019, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Shipley says on her website that she writes poems to help her heal and hopes "I will help others find their own peace."
"I write to bear witness and record the struggle of the heart, the mind, the body ensnared by powers that cannot be understood or controlled," she said. "Unlike a priest, I have only words to give a deeply troubled world. Writing poems is a trip I start each day to find meaning for my individual life. The spiritual quest is universal, unlike the physical, personal one of the body. Poetry can ease the journey, because when words are placed on a page, are given the permanence of print, the spirit has prevailed, will endure."