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Figures in a Landscape

A new inclusiveness, a heady freedom, grounded in the facts of mortality, inform Gail Mazur’s recent poems, as if making them has served as both a bunker and a promontory, a way to survive, and to be exposed to, the profound underlying subject of this book: a husband’s approaching death. The intimate particulars of a shared life are seen from a great height—and then there’s the underlife of the bunker: endurance, holding on, life as uncompromising reality. This new work, possessed by the unique devil-may-care intensity of someone writing at the end of her nerves, makes Figures in a Landscape feel radiant, visionary, and exhilarating, rather than elegiac. Mazur’s masterly fusion of abstraction with the facts of a life creates a coming to terms with what Yeats called “the aboriginal ice.”

96 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2011

Phoenix Poets



“Gail Mazur asks the fundamental questions of a life animated by a social and existential conscience. . . . Her language hums with a tension between an unflinching account of motive and a fluent lyrical grace.”—Tikkun



"Gail Mazur reinvigorates her longstanding themes with linguistic precision and surprising turns. . . . With insight and originality, she takes on poetry’s great themes and takes readers into deep, psychic terrain."

Women's Review of Books

“Gail Mazur’s distinguished body of work reads as an irresolvable argument with herself, but at its core it takes unabating delight in the enigmas of human relationships and its own contrariness.... This is a masterful and moving collection, and as stubborn and generous as hell.”

On the Seawall

Table of Contents



    The Age
    The Island
    To the Makers
    While You Were Out
    Late September
    Notes in Chalk on a Ruined Bridge
    Figures in a Landscape


    History of My Timidity
    Dear Migraine,
    Asymmetrical Millay November
    To the Women of My Family
    Another Form
    In Another Country
    Autobiographia Misereria
    Inward Conversation


    Wedding Album
    Borges in Cambridge, 1967
    American Scene, 1935
    Isaac Rosenberg
    F & the Interpretation of Dreams
    Little Tempest
    10,000 Days
    Concordance to a Life’s Work
    Daisy, Daisy
    Poem at the End of August

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