Author event: Gail Mazur, Zeppo’s First Wife

March 2, 2006
By

jacket imageGail Mazur will read from Zeppo’s First Wife: New and Selected Poems on March 4 at 8 p.m., at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA.
Yesterday, the Provincetown Banner featured an article about Mazur. Sue Harrison asked Mazur if writing poems about her husband was off limits:

"I’m unsentimental and I don’t write love poems," she says, adding that if she does there is usually some wry twist.
An exception to that is "Air Drawing" from They Can’t Take That Away From Me, which was a National Book Award finalist.
In that poem, Mazur takes a roundabout, unsentimental way to deal with love by recalling [her husband] Mike’s brush with death. In the poem, the narrator is reading a mystery book and watching her husband sleep.
I watch his right hand float
in our bedroom’s midnight,
inscribe forms by instinct on the air,
arterial, calligraphic
figures I’m too literal to follow…
Is this the way it has to be —
one of us always vigilant,
watching over the unconscious
other, the quick elusory
tracings on the night’s space.
That night two years ago
in the hospital, tubes
in his pale right hand,
in his thigh, I asked myself,
Does he love me?
and if he does,
how could he let that steely man
in green scrubs snake his way
nearer to his heart
than I’ve ever gone?
"I tell my students they can’t use the word heart as the seat of love," she says, and explains how she sidestepped one of her own basic rules for avoiding tired or clichéd phrases. "I love that irrational leap of jealousy because the surgeon was getting closer to the heart than I could."

Read the rest of the article.
Gail Mazur’s books include Zeppo’s First Wife: New and Selected Poems, They Can’t Take That Away from Me, and The Common, all published by the University of Chicago Press.
Read an excerpt from They Can’t Take That Away From Me.
Read an excerpt from The Common.

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