Gail Mazur's poems in Forbidden City build an engaging meditative structure upon the elements of mortality and art, eloquently contemplating the relationship of art and life and the dynamic possibilities of each in combination. At the collection's heart is the poet's long marriage to the artist Michael Mazur (1935-2009). A fascinating range of tone infuses the book grieving, but clear-eyed rather than lugubrious, sometimes whimsical, even comical, and often exuberant. The note of pleasure, as in an old tradition enriched by transience, runs through the work, even in the final poem, "Grief," where our ravenous hold on the world is a powerful central element.
Gail Mazur is Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College and Founding Director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, a weekly poetry reading series she ran for 29 years.