Published Works by Gail Peck
AN INSTANT OUT OF TIME
To truly enter a photograph a poet must cross the threshold of the negative at her own risk. Gail Peck has returned from her journey into Dorothea Lange’s timeless photographs to remind us that the precipice between hope and despair is closer than we thought. Migrations, dispersions of the rootstock of Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas transplanted families in the “dirty thirties” to someone else’s soil in California, New Mexico, Washington. Today, America is still a country in motion; home is where the heart once was. What people have always longed for is a place with curtains, at least, that offers more than shelter from the rain. Ultimately, home is the place one’s ancestors will always remember. The poems in these pages take the images of those familiar Dustbowl faces and render them, riveting and real, endowed with memory in the furrows of the brow and the endless fields. This journey to the interior of eternal instants gives us unprecedented access as readers to stand in the darkroom and watch details emerge in the developer even Lange might have missed.
author of Riders on the Orphan Train
In these luscious poems, emanating from the paintings of Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, other scapes emerge transfigured by the poet's eye. In "Grand Decorations, the Clouds," Peck writes, "This is how I want death to be, not the white and white / of sheets . . . to mark the days. / Let me be lifted by the clouds / if only in reflection, and not at the dark edge / . . . but near the center, the lavendar wisteria." Then again in "Still LIfe with Birds" Nests," . . . light is braided / in straw and debris . . . where eggs lie until the first fissure . . . brekaing silence into refrain." And what a refrain as the book unfolds on a plethora of scenes laoded with lilies, bridges, willows, sunflowers, crows and wheat fields. All this woven into the poignancy of the personal. through it all, the poet walkking us down a parth of reviention.
Julie Suk, author of The Dark Takes Aim
Each poem in Gail Peck's Within Two Rooms is beautifully haunted by the ghost of a mother as alive in memory as she was in life, a woman who outlived two children and endured two difficult marriages, and who, though her Bible had "been re-bound twice," remained hungry for the sensual pleasure of the world--manicures, spray tans, dyed hair, Zagnut candy bars, pickled beets, and lottery tickets. The speaker of these poems, unlike the mother and sister who trust Bibical miracles, is "the one who / wants to touch the wound." ANd touch it, she does, resulting in a biittersweet litany of praise for the world the mohter teaches us to notice, and to love.
Rebecca McClanahan, author of Deep Light: New
Selected Poems, and The Tribal Knot, A Memoir
of Family, Community, and a Century of Change
"The war goes on - who can rest?" asks Gail Peck in her unnerving, searing collection of poems, Counting the Lost. With human indignity and the banality of evil casting a cold eye, these poems about the Holocoaust look through our simple lives, and remind us of our need for ethical vigilence, and for consolation.
-Alan Michael Parker
When one thinks of concentration camps, one thinks of death; but Gail Peck’s poems in From Terezin, based on artwork by children in Terezin Concentration Camp, brim with vitality. These poems are voices, the voices of children who, in the midst of suffering, chose to draw flowers and fish, leaves and the moon, each other. They drew their pictures as Gail Peck draws them with the strokes of language: alive, their imaginations thriving.
Rhett Iseman Trull
From Terezin Pudding House Publications /ISBN 1-58998-640-7 $11.50 including S&H. To
order: Gail Peck 250 King Owen Ct. Charlotte, NC 28211 www,gailpeck.org
At the center of this beautifully crafted book is, indeed, an unquenchable thirst. This is a world of longing, always for something just out of reach, a world filled with the ever-present fear of what might flourish/ among the tree roots/ veiled in beauty and vengeance. Yet at the root of all the longing, the thirst, is a deep and abiding love for the people and things and places of this often difficult world. I don’t know any other poet more skillful than Gail Peck at divining music from everyday speech. Each poem takes up to a place we never expected to go, a place that feels just right once we arrive there.
Cathy Smith Bowers
In, Thirst, Gail Peck lays out the fever chart of a family, four generations of Sad things ghosting their way back. With plain spoken tenderness and anguish, Peck brings us their stories, opening the valve of grief until it flows freely. Thirst is also about the complexities of love. Love and loss: these are the twin poles that magnetize the poems and draw us into them, where we’re held by a voice that is at once affectionate and exasperated and ruefully true.
Thirst is available from the author: Gail Peck 250 King Owen Ct. Charlotte, NC 28211 $15 including postage
Thirst is available from: www.MainStreetRag.com/store/ ISBN 1-930907-45-1
Foreshadow is available from the MSR Online Bookstore
ISBN 1-930907-14-1 $6
Reading stacks of manuscripts entered in contests, I have occasionally daydreamed of one whose last page might send me eagerly back to its first for a second reading. This was the one. Drop Zone weaves the textual richness and energetic density of poetry into a far-flung and spellbinding net of narrative. I have come to care deeply about the people of these poems, thanks to the poet’s extraordinary blend of humanity and technical skill.
Henry Taylor, Series Final Judge
Drop Zone may be ordered through Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Amazon.com. It can also be ordered directly from the publisher: Texas Review Press, English Department, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77341.
Gail Peck’s poems are distinguished by their clarity and precise attention to detail and to language. Her speaker examines the past—both distant and near—with an unflinching determination to explore the hurts and losses of a life, and to extract understanding. Her discoveries rise out of each poem’s experience with a remarkable lack of inflation, and a convincing sense of hard-earned knowledge. The speaker tells us in the collection’s last poem, "Music": "though I can’t play/ and know nothing of music, except the pressure/ of one thing against another,/ how hollowness makes sound"; out of pressure, out of "hollowness," come authentic poems.