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Skirmish : poems
Gibson, Dobby
Adult Nonfiction PS3607.I266 S54 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A noirish current runs through Gibson's second collection, which finds fascination in dark, abandoned urban or suburban spaces and unsolvable everyday mysteries: "There's a street beneath this street, a city beneath this city,/ inhabited by empty tunnels/ built for trains that never arrived." These mostly short, free verse poems hum with gloomy humor and the mood of pregnant anticipation one finds in a Paul Auster novel. Gibson (Polar) is no escapist, though, portraying an anxious America in the new millennium. A palpable sense of paranoia is figured as spies who crop up in several poems. The sense of alienation pervades not just the public but also the domestic sphere ("Soon I realized: they weren't actors,/ they were my family"). Gibson also tries the fable, where he finds a comfortable home for his brand of black humor: "There was once a roofer who lived/ a full life even though a stake/ had been driven through his forehead." Gibson mixes the language of public discourse, science, TV and everyday conversation in a chatty if bleak voice that is both accessible and satisfyingly challenging. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Sometimes, titles reveal little about the book they gloss, but in this latest from Gibson (Polar), the title provides insight into the material contained within. Literally speaking, a skirmish is a brief exchange between two warring parties that can foretell a larger battle to come. Gibson's work proceeds by just such allusions, giving readers a certain sense of the poem, only to yank them back into the present by overturning all of the assumptions the poem had built. In this age of rapid change, surprise is a constant, but the surprises offered by Gibson's poetry are more than gratuitous shock or quaint novelty. Like a photo whose power lies in having its focal point not in the middle of the picture but on its periphery, Gibson demonstrates that it's not about what you're seeing-it's about what you're ignoring. Mesmerized by skirmishing details, the reader is left to deduce, along with Gibson, that "truth is often what you at first don't trust." Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Chris Pusateri, Jefferson Cty. P.L., Lakewood, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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