A record of visionary experience in the wake of loss
In Lapis, poet Kerri Webster writes into the vast space left by the deaths of three women: her mother, a mentor, and a friend. Using a wide array of lyric forms and meditations, Webster explores matrilineages both familial and poetic, weaving together death, spirituality, women, and a sense of the shifting earth into one "doctrine of Non-linear Revelation."
And I was equal to my longing:
the mums blackening;
sorrow a carboned figurine;
the firmament steaming; your ashes
interred in the boulder;
the ugly birds crying dolor dolor dolor;
the sky smoke-choked—what, then,
would you have had be my register?
As the beasts of the field rub their antlers off
with ooh-itch pleasure; as the screen says
You often open around this time; as the grapes
blight: listen: sometimes
we're the pilgrim, sometimes
we're the site.
CONTENTS • oh each poet's a/beautiful human girl who must die • I • Primrose, Orchid, Datura • Seer Stone • II • Against Shame • Relic Hall • Visitation • It is an Old Story but One That Can Still Be Told (Gilgamesh) • And Made My Body an Instrument of the Reckoning • The New Dispensation • This Must Be What Happened (Gilgamesh) • State of the Union • The Dead Teach Me Grounding Techniques • Split • Oh My Darlings • I Go and See a Man About Some Lapis • III • So Many Worlds, So Much to Do • IV • State of the Union • Of Hutto • Towards a Discipline of Joy • The Garden as Partition Like the One in Every Annunciation • And One Ge*ra*ni*um • The Lapis Nuns and the Radium Girls Meet in the Hereafter • Clorox • Elegy • Eyelets • Acknowledgements • Notes
"Lapis is apocalyptic: an unveiling of revelations made in the wake of great loss. With hardship-honed feminist wit and transmundane wisdom, Webster speaks to us sibylline from the end of things. Her poems seethe with energy unleashed by visionary experience, their images shaking with violent insight."~Brian Teare, author Doomstead Days
"Lapis's nuanced journey is full of beauty and devastation. Webster recreates a wholly unique providence, "this waking, light striping the walls to which bees are pinned," a voice from the page, still 'beating its wings'."~Elena Karina Byrne, author of If This Makes You Nervous
"The visionary poetics of Lapis upend the notion of a shared, secular consensus, revealing death's capacity to transfigure; to render 'God-struck.' Like the sacred manuscripts labored-over by medieval nuns, Webster's language is richly illuminated."~Hannah LeClair, Jacket2