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Dear Ghosts,

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  111 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The long-awaited and resplendent new poetry collection by Tess Gallagher, whose poems "are a gift of a poet's heart and soul to her readers" (Robert Coles)

Don't sharpen them.
Expectation, more dangerous
than any blade.
—"Knives in the Borrowed House"

Fourteen years after Moon Crossing Bridge—Tess Gallagher's powerful elegies for her husband, Raymond Carver—Dear Ghosts, is the
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Graywolf Press (first published 2006)
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May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These poems deal with death, for the most part, but are full of life, humor, quirky details, hope, mystery, and grace. A fantastic collection that's humble, honest, and spiritual without being didactic or implying any sort of superior tone. These poems unearth meaning and pattern from both unusual experiences as well as the everyday. Keenly observed, with a voice you can hear as if she were in the room speaking directly to you - poems whittled to near-perfection.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'd hoped I would like these poems, although I really wasn't sure what kind of poetry to expect from Tess Gallagher. Turns out I should expect good poetry from her! This collection, as far as I can tell, is organized around a very loose theme: the poems are mostly directed to people in her life, or they communicate something related to other people in her life. I liked them a lot, because they were thoughtful and moving (I actually cried at some of the ones about Raymond Carver, but I am a soft ...more
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Just read through the first of seven sections. I do not know how to criticize poems.

If our task as writers is to defamiliarize, then how is this (from "My Unopened Life"):

The bowl of the spoon
collects entire rooms just lying there next
to the knife. It makes brief forays into
the mouth delivering cargoes of ceilings
and convex portraits of teeth
posing as stalactites of
a serially extinguished cave.

I like the enjambments: the odd use of the prepositional "next" and "into" at the ends of lines 2 and
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading Gallagher's poems have a mixed effect with me: On one hand, I am inspired and moved and emotionally charged to see the things that lie around me as quickened and energized, having profound implications; and on the other hand, I fascinated by how basic, sincere, truthful, and real she writes. Some of the people she writes about in her poems, I know too, and the places, I know too. (I have stood next to her husband's gravesite and said my own silent prayer too.) To sum, Gallagher's poems a ...more
Judith Shadford
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My appreciation of poetry has come late in the game and tends to be rather more visceral than intellectual. But o my, Dear Ghosts is a collection rising from all the losses in Gallagher's life...her mother, her husband, Raymond Carver, her own ordeal with cancer. To link that much courage with such feather brushes of loveliness is a stunning gift to all of us. Awestruck seems to be as accurate as a non-poet can register.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
"Roethke, other long-gone father,
paraphrasing Marianne Moore to tell us:
once we feel deeply we begin to behave.
The notion of right action proceeding
naturally out of right feeling--
poetry the witching stick, not only
to what was felt, but how the ability to feel a thing
is already something done to the good."

- from "Behave"

the poetry is alright. In my current frame of mind, found it a bit sentimental.
Heather Burmeister
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I still haven't finished this book! Reading Tess is like reading Mary Oliver...I have to read one poem. set the book down. absorb it for a few hours or a couple days. reread the poem. think about it. reread the poem. really study it. I swear I've been reading this book for over a year, and still sometimes I go back to reread the first poem.
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Intense, beautiful poems. What I most admire is their honest reach and how the poet is able to draw the material and spiritual, past and present, into the space of one poem. What I most enjoyed was the precise surprise of one amazing metaphor after another and the deft aptness of the language.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable collection of poignant poems.
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2010
Mm...she does some interesting things with her words, but overall, her poems provoked little response from me, either cerebral or emotional.
Gloria Viglione
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Poetry you want to take in slowly and return to.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Apr 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
pieces I really liked were "Fire Starter", "The Rooster Crows", "Dream Doughnuts", "Behave", "With Setouchi-San In Kyoto", and "Death's Ink"
but otherwise felt somewhat bland
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
May 13, 2010 rated it liked it
See my analysis of Dear Ghosts in the 2007 Magill's Literary Annual.
Stephanie Morgan
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rich and quiet, these poems feel substantial. A great collection.
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Aug 08, 2012
Anne Fitzgerald
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Jun 28, 2013
Mohsenfahmy Moussa
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Jul 21, 2013
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Feb 03, 2008
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Nov 05, 2009
James Murphy
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Oct 18, 2010
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Poetry Readers Ch...: Dear Ghosts, by Tess Gallagher 3 17 Jun 28, 2013 06:11AM  
Tess Gallagher is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Dear Ghosts, Moon Crossing Bridge, and My Black Horse. She will release her collection of New and Selected Poems entitled Midnight Lantern in October 2011. Gallagher is also the author of Amplitude, Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray, A Concert of Tenses: Essays on Poetry, and three collections of short fiction: At the Owl Wom ...more
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“Did you think
a little time and death would stop me?”
More quotes…