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Gathering the Tribes

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The language and images of Carolyn Forche's poetry are so closely bound to the natural cycles of the seasons, of generations, of the body's functioning, that it is surprising to realize how many of her poems deal with uprootedness - hasty emigrations from Czechoslovakia and Kiev, the loss of grandparents and other elders, people leaving and being sent away.
Paperback, 74 pages
Published September 10th 1976 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 1976)
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Karen Lepri
I give this book 4 stars for the last section--hard to find such stunning, erotic poems.
J. Patrick Bennett
Carolyn Forché's poetry has me by the throat. I starve for air, in between readings of her books. My head aches, eyes over-pressurize in this low atmosphere, this humid climate that is the underbelly of revelation. She begs me to take a bite and sings as I swallow. In her, I am a bell among bells in the bustle of the market square, all our tongues removed, our siren calls silenced so that we may be given the gift of sight. This volume of her poems grabs me by the very redness of my blood. I am g ...more
Lisha Adela
This was the one book, the first book of Carolyn Forché's I had yet to read. It was the book that was awarded the Yale Young Poets award. What insight at such a young age. There are moments in this book, "ghosts in my mouth" that cut across cultural identities to the overall human garment. I was fascinated, read the book twice and marvel at how such a unique voice, so young, could capture the human spirit in the land, in the ethers and in our psyche. " I am the spirit entering the stomach of the ...more
Rachelle Smith
There are a lot of symbols to see and you definately get a feel for the setting. The book goes from one place to a complete other. First more about her grandmothers life and then into here own. Her grandmothers influence and her as a child to her life as an adult with sexual desire and experences along with life and how she sees it on her own now.
Laura Hartmark
If life were a myth, Forche would be the character who travels the world, gathering tears in a cup. People would say, "I have so many tears, and I am afraid they will fall." Forche would say, "I have a cup. I will gather your tears so you need not worry." Forche, as a poet and an inspiration, is beloved by many.
An entertaining and thought provoking collection, which the Yale series gushed over because of erotic themes integrated with deep personal and cultural history. Great for such a young offering, worth the read, but her later works are to be more highly recommended. Immature in places and predictive in places.
Definitely a 70s-era personal history book of poems, but some of it feels very brave and true, and it sounds beautiful out loud.
This book is beautiful.
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  • Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields
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  • Field Guide
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Carolyn Forché was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1950. She studied at Michigan State University and earned an MFA from Bowling Green State University. Forché is the author of four books of poetry: Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2004); The Angel of History (1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award; The Country Between Us (1982), which received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di C ...more
More about Carolyn Forché...
The Country Between Us Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness The Angel of History Blue Hour Writing Creative Nonfiction

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“In the night I come to you and it seems a shame
to waste my deepest shudders on a wall of a man.”
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