Review of Between Soul & Stone by Margo Berdeshevsky

BetweenSoul&Stone_coverBetween Soul & Stone by Margo Berdeshevsky
Published by The Sheep Meadow Press; Rhinebeck, NY 2011

The title for Margo Berdeshevsky’s collection, Between Soul & Stone, is in and of itself a perfect metaphor for the song that is sung between these pages. It is “twice the darkness, heard” as it croons the beauty that is both the darkness of the spiritual self and the carnal, physical self. In her poem, “Her Detail–Paris Cherry Trees,” the poet affirms what this book attempts to do: “let us make peace this season.” To make peace with the aging of our physical bodies, the loss of loved ones–to reconcile our earthly desires with our godly ones.

These poems are “[dresses] / that always need to be // Unbuttoned.” And while they are so well dressed–so lovely and lyrically put together–it is the dissection and exploration of their most intimate revelations, the wonder of what lies beneath the beautifully crafted poem, that allows the poet to really sing. It is “how she holds / a word” in these delicately yet powerfully artful lines. We are meant to make love to these poems. We are meant to see god in these poems. And we do so by letting the sweet rhythm of lines like, “leaning like a woman in a high belted april green kimono” and “since he planted the palm-of-his-hand-sized sapling into soft summer dirt,” kiss our ears; we feel the breath linger between the beautiful white spaces of “I am.                I require.                    Single silo. / Single sun, descending            You     / may clean old wars.                       I am in the no / where.” It is this breathy longing of white space and musicality of the line that connects these poems, in their varying heartbeats, on the one journey of this reconciliation of the self–a harmony, a cacophony, a wild and wonderful song of the two selves exploring one another. This book “will / taste like sacrament, like sex” and you will be fed by both. It is a book that is, in every sense, “between soul and stone”–there is salt, sharp corners, angels and gods.

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