Gravity Matters


poems by Sonja Ruth Greckol

120 Pages
May 01, 2009

The work of creating a fully habitable life with a past and present preoccupies Sonja Greckol. In Gravity Matters, the poet traces an arc: from a nineteenth-century European family that immigrated and settled in central Alberta to a digitized wondering held together by Skype and Google rooted in central Toronto. In this, a first collection, Greckol turns obliquely from the matters of largely personal lyrics to historical and international preoccupations that, nevertheless, remain embodied—a pentimento of certainties, sensualities and queries, empiricism and theory in science, moving from daughter to mother and then mother/daughtering once again—in a feminist voice that is urgent, empathic and wry. An intricate and technically near-flawless first collection of poetry by a poet whose work has been published in prestigious literary journals across the country.

“Sonja Greckol’s intricate, sonorous poems probe the ‘multiplied forces’ engaged in a continually placed and displaced twenty-first-century embodied feminist consciousness. From tender ‘motherwatch’ grapplings with her daughter’s intentions of development work in war-scarred Rwanda, to identity traced in and out of alignment with intergenerational bloodroot, to naming vivid shudders of post-menopausal eros, this book invites the reader’s mindbody to come hither and matter as much. Greckol’s poems track oft-opposing impulses for both ‘gravity and flight,’ as she imagines what it is to stand at both sides of the barricades inside our own consciousness, calibrating the complex weave of reason and rapture. A gorgeous, intelligent churner of a debut.”
Margaret Christakos

“Sonja Greckol’s lines glance off The Real like a chisel blade to create their own particular music and forms of exploratory feeling, “carrying banners around those frozen walls in the twilight.” History and personal history, defiant elegy and hymns to the warmly embodied self, Gravity Matters manages to find the charged moment, goes to work there, ‘offer[ing] whiskey with poppy seed cake’. We feel this gravitational pull, as readers; an altering, cumulative wind unveiling the sly half-truth in, ‘zephyr shivers/the copse/on the landfill,/and no/thing changes,/apparently’. These poems are honest, unafraid of the mistakes in a life, the missteps of memory.”
Ken Babstock

“These are poems about survival—which is to say, poems about grief and how the soul survives it. ‘When he is dog meat, she weeps // at the cruelty of farming: the horse without / wings cannot be saved by naming.’ All the themes of this book are triumphantly summed up and extended in its central poem, Greckol’s haunting, monumental ‘Emilie Explains Newton to Voltaire.’ With eloquence and unceasing formal invention, the horse with wings (Pegasus, or poetry) tries to save mortal life by naming what it was.”
Frank Bidart

Sonja Greckol’s work has appeared in Literary Review of Canada, Canadian Literature, Dalhousie Review, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme, Fiddlehead and Matrix. She coordinates poetry for Women and Environments International Magazine. She has taught college and university, studied order and disorder in jokes, done human rights and gender-based research and consulting, and continues to do local activism while she writes.


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