ISBN: 978-1-59948-643-7, 84 pages, $14
ISBN: 978-1-59948-643-7, 84 pages, $14
Barbara Sabol is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Original Ruse and The Distance between Blues. Her work has most recently appeared in The Examined Life; San Pedro River Review; Ekphrasis; Chrysanthemum; Modern Haiku; The Comstock Review and in a number of anthologies, including The Ides of March, an Anthology of Ohio Poets. Barbara won the Mary Jean Irion Poetry Prize in 2014. She earned an MFA from Spalding University. Barbara reviews poetry books as a guest contributor for the blog, Poetry Matters. She is a speech therapist and teacher who lives and works in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio with her husband and wonder dogs.
Within Barbara Sabol’s thought-provoking debut Solitary Spin, it’s life on Earth that proves to be inscrutable, and so this poet looks up and writes with expertise and lyric yearning for the more stable heavens, where stars, moon, and Mars seem magnificently familiar—and unlike the not-so-distant past with its rotary phones, backyard bomb shelters, and family so far beyond ken. –Kathleen Driskell, Blue Etiquette: Poems
“Maybe some shadow self occasionally borrows my skin and in it lives / a daring life while I watch Masterpiece Theater.” This is how Barbara Sabol wins us over: lyrical portentousness is balanced against humor, and our loftiest dreams find their origins on good old planet Earth. In these gorgeous poems she explores the shadow selves—the siblings we never had, the children we never gave birth to, the parents we have lost—as they orbit through us like planets through a galaxy. Reading Solitary Spin is like walking out at night under a sky full of stars. –George Bilgere
Solitary Spin is the physics and astronomy of poetry in a cosmology teaching us “the astrolabe’s secrets.” From here, we transcend into the “whirl and gyre in an astonishment” of human and planetary bodies. The book’s title is an apt metaphor for writing poems, for engaging in the epistemology of understanding our relationships with the world. Sabol evokes a sky that releases us “from earth’s draw” by offering a brilliant constellation of poetic stars. –Robert Miltner, author of Hotel Utopia
Denmark should not forget the noble woman
who in spirit more than blood was my sister, Sophia,
that shining star in our Danish sky. ― Tycho Brahe
Now that the long days of summer are spent,
when only Venus and a blush of moon could buff
the abiding brightness, I am, against all protestation,
drawn to Tycho’s island to take measure of the heavens.
The sun sets before supper and a dome of darkness
curves above Uraniborg, where we will spend long evenings
in the observatory, plotting the planets’ altitude and spin.
I am learning the astrolabe’s secrets―
when I position the instrument so, allow
the plumb bead to reveal the arc of Mars, of Saturn,
I enter the whirl and gyre in an astonishment of bodies.
To divine celestial movement, yet not my own prospects!
When the last azimuth is set in ink I walk out
past the flat pasture lands, the wheat fields since reaped
to stubble, to the sandy cliffs of Backafall where starlight
ignites the waves.
I unpin my coif and lean into evening’s pitch, clockwork
of stars, the salt spray. Moon, my point of interest;
green glass sea my reference plane; the sky, the sky
my vector in every direction.
Original skin, yours was the first
touch across my cheek; fingers held out
before our lidless eyes; still otherworldly
we floated, transparent as guppies
in a dim swale, cartilage to bone
we tumbled―twin acrobats
in our watery sphere, hearts ticking
in time. In time, your flesh meshed
into mine; every pore absorbed you,
spine and gut, our life lines fused, one
long, curving lane and so you travel with me
out into the streets of the lit world, your hand
the wind, same pale hair falling over my eyes,
skin thickening against those who dare
call you imaginary.
Her pink suit was splattered with her husband’s blood.
God help us all! ―Lady Bird Johnson
Gelatin panes dazzled my brain, a revolving trick
in the silver tree red lights glistened, Christmas Eve.
As the color wheel spun its tenuous magic:
wobbling on heels, reeking Tabu, I still believed.
In the silver tray red meat glistened, Christmas Eve:
roast for dinner―thickly marbled, cut clean.
Wobbling on heels, reeking Tabu, I still believed.
Even cows must wake from their bucolic dream.
Roast for dinner, thickly marbled, cut clean―
like blood in the snow, on Big Marge’s white apron.
Even cows must wake from their bucolic dream:
you still believe?(In the cleaver her red-lipped grin.)
Like blood in the snow, on Big Marge’s white apron
red globes dotted the phantom tree; sugar cookies stacked.
You still believe? In the cleaver her red-lipped grin:
I spun with the wheel, under the tree on my back.
Red globes dotted the phantom tree, sugar cookies stacked,
waiting for the absurd red suit to rescue us from cruelty.
I spun with the wheel, under the tree on my back
as the cows lowed their knowledge of the final mystery.
Waiting for the absurd red suit to rescue us from cruelty
while Big Marge slapped the cleaver against her hip:
the cows lowed their knowledge of the final mystery.
Intricate bows tethered a pile of gifts
while Big Marge slapped the cleaver against her hip.
Above the blur of lights, a ceramic angel reigned,
intricate bows tethered a pile of gifts.
Like a wicked boy, I peered up the skirt of that so-called tree.
Above the blur of lights, a ceramic angel reigned:
gelatin panes dazzled my brain, a revolving trick.
Like a wicked boy, I peered up the skirt of that so-called tree
as the color wheel spun its tenuous magic.