"Gathering the Tribes" by Carolyn Forché

Gathering the Tribes Carolyn Forché, Stanley Kunitz

Series:
Yale Series of Younger Poets
Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
26 Nov 2019
ISBN:
9780300246322
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
80 pages: 210 x 140mm

The poems in Gathering the Tribes recount experiences from the author’s adolescence and young-adult life, closely bound to the natural cycles of the seasons, of generations, of the body’s functioning. Stanley Kunitz writes in his foreword that they seek “to understand the bonds of family, race, and sex.” Many deal with uprootedness—hasty emigrations from Czechoslovakia and Kiev, the loss of grandparents and other elders, people leaving and being sent away. But this poetry is not a sentimental celebration of the goodness of nature, and harmony with the world is never something assumed. The harmony Forché seeks goes deeper than simple submission to natural processes or identification with an ethnic group, and it must be fought for with a tenuous faith, the balance that must be found between the ugliness, the harshness of her history—both natural and social—and its intense beauty, is what distinguishes Forché’s poetry, gives it its depth and dimension.

Carolyn Forché is director of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University. Her other books of poetry include The Country Between Us, The Angel of History, and Blue Hour.

"Carolyn Forché's poems give an illusion of artlessness because they spring fromthe simplest and deepest human feelings, from an earthling's awareness of the systematic pulse of creation. The poems tell us she is at home any place under the stars, wherever there are fields or mountains, lakes or rivers, persons who stir her atavistic bond-sense."—Stanley Kunitz