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Slipstream, Poems by Carol Westberg
The poems of Carol Westberg's Slipstream display no fear of flying, instead taking joyous wing in the flow of language and experience, music and image, word and feeling.
"At once tender and resolute, the poems in Slipstream work quietly to reconstruct a life—lovers, family, solitude—not to create a monument to the past but to find a place from which to step forward. Carol Westberg writes: 'Forgive and forget? No, remember and let go.' These poems offer both challenge and blessing to the work of that remembering."—Cynthia Huntington
"Machado writes somewhere that the Gospels can be reduced to a single message—'wake up!' Like Machado, Carol Westberg is drawn to metaphysics and yet she is refreshingly suspicious of the obfuscation and frivolity that so often accompanies metaphysical speculation. Her lean, attentive, and gracefully wrought lyrics look relentlessly for the other world that is in this one, but do so through a deep fidelity to emotive basics—most notably family history, and the restorative power of nature—and through the lyric poem’s venerable desire to truthfully inhabit the moment. As she observes near the closing of this fine collection, 'Soon you or I/may be in the ground. For now we are in/this very life. In song and in silence.'"—David Wojahn
"With extraordinary clarity and precision Carol Westberg records a journey. Though the landscapes are filled with seasons and stars, the real travel here is inward—and no less perilous for that. From desire and fear, through sorrow and 'the deadly wish to be charismatic,' these poems arrive at a place of expansion, where the speaker can fully 'invite the outside in.' 'My aspirations are common as dirt,' one poem announces. But let us remember that every living thing depends on dirt, and so these poems, in coming to embrace the ordinary, also embrace the essential."—Betsy Sholl
"Carol Westberg’s Slipstream is that true rarity among first books: there is no over-determined lyricism, no look-ma-no-hands, in short, no wetness behind the ears. The collection is a product of and a testimony to human maturity. One of its most memorable poems is entitled 'Map of Uncertain Soundings,' and the very title suggests all that is sublime in this apparently modest book. The author’s world, like all of ours, is rife with uncertainty: the complexities of love, romantic and familial; the agony of aging parents and sometimes refractory children; the difficulty sometimes of merely showing up. And yet, by dint precisely of the maturity I mentioned, Westberg uncannily provides us with a navigational map: her keen eye, big heart, and sure ear offer a sort of assurance to her reader. We may all be mere hounds baying at the moon much of the time, but when we can muster the sort of insight and valor betokened by Slipstream, which of us will deny that life is a fine thing altogether?"
The granddaughter of Swedish immigrants, Carol Westberg spent much of her childhood on a family farm in Iowa and lived briefly in France and Germany. She received a BA from Duke University, an MA in teaching from Stanford University, and an MFA in poetry from Vermont College. Slipstream is her first full-length collection of poems. A former editor and teacher, she is the proud parent of two grown daughters, a student of tai chi, and director of communications at Vermont Law School. She and her partner live in Hanover, New Hampshire.
ISBN: 978-1936370016, 92 pages, $18.00