Praise for Given Away
Jennifer Barber’s Given Away views the contemporary world through the lens of Biblical psalms, the natural world, medieval history, and spiritual dimensions of lightness and darkness. The poems here travel from cities in Southern Spain to rural New England. Her lyrical meditations on the soul illuminate the process of searching for a self that may already be “given away” in the smallest of moments, like “light slanting through the trees.”
Jennifer Barber’s perceptions are so specific and surprising in these beautiful and rigorous poems, her diction and music so pure, her rhetoric so without excess or self-congratulations that her discipline as an artist seems supernatural. Stunning verbal artifacts, human in scale, are made vast, spiritualized by their implications.
Whether striking a ‘blue-yellow hood’ of flame from a wooden match, or scattering Ezekiel’s coals over the city to ‘sow the light of reckoning,’ Jennifer Barber’s poems are small, deft psalms, large in spiritual scope. She celebrates elementals: water and salt, darkness and light, silence and utterance, in an art of delicacy, quiet, andprecision.
In Poetry Porch: Review by Joyce Wilson