OPEN FIRE available here!

Meditation, investigation, imagination, sensation, fascination, revelation–this one extraordinary book has it all. Gorlin grips the material world in the tough, keen, metaphorically brilliant fist of her language.  Enter where “souls point down,” and where “pure thought” is the “satin lining in the heavy coat of feeling.”  Enjoy with the war photographer Lee Miller the “ironic desecration” of a soak “In Hitler’s bathtub.”  Sing like Philomena, raped and mutilated by her sister’s husband, turned into a nightingale.  Follow the life and death of the fashionista Isabella Blow, whose sexuality was “an accessory,” whose costumes were “murder made gorgeous.” Notice how “the flared cuffs” of Emily Dickinson’s white dress are “beginning wings.”  Be a tree.  Be masked like a family of crows scenting out decay,”their red subjects/ splayed like porn, cawing their broken/ syntax.” Recognize and accept our human condition: “we are our own wolves / circling the campfire.” Become as ambiguous as the phrase “open fire,” embodying savagery and safety at once–like this book.
Alicia Ostriker, author of Waiting for the Light and The Volcano and After.
Such vastness of mind animates Deborah Gorlin’s sensuous, urgent, processual poems which gleam with time like the mouths of geodes. In Open Fire, Gorlin presses her voices through histories, myths, and personae, further accessing all of her life: “…joining its red skin, I will use my fear…” With surprising, secret turns in the syntax and line, she makes beauty, always, in the shiftful eye of death “because never // again in time assembled into this human being…” This work is a flourishing. Intimate, daring, acquainted with death, and alive — alive to what comes and what has been. 
Aracelis Girmay, author of the black maria

Like the harmony of the spheres, the music of Open Fire is elemental, emanating from heaving earth, from rent garments, from internal organs. Gorlin holds a tuning fork to flesh and runs forensics on myths in this richly physical collection – it’s gorgeous!   
Eula Biss, Having and Being Had

OPEN FIRE is remarkable for its humanity and loving attention to our collective lives. The work is amplified by brilliant imagination, a deep and specific attention to the world.  All of which give us poems of a hard-earned wisdom. Here is a poet who understands what she wants to say and who has the voice and skills to say it memorably: “. . . in the limited time we have together/I invite them, you, to live inside this house I have/finally built.

Christopher Buckley, author of One Sky to the Next

The poems in Deborah Gorlin’s Open Fire are in the world and of it, as intimate and untidy. She appoints her companions: waters, trees, heroines, and much-used used things. Bodies are opened for healing, hurt, sex, and the gifts and pains of being born. The dead are remembered; myths are relived. Witty, smart, and tough, Open Fire extends the imaginative reach of Gorlin’s previous collections in new directions both outward and inward.

—D. J. Waldie, author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir

These are remarkable poems, smooth and deft, technically assured and filled with brooding mediations on eros and thanatos, sex and death — bodies defined broadly and inclusively, in kindred states of physical need and peril, along with graphic invitations to a serious sensuous life lived.  The series on Isabella Blow is brilliant — taking the mad world of fashion and turning it all into a Rabelaisian carnivalesque celebration  – carnal indeed! — of the flesh, worthy of the wife of Bath and Molly Bloom. Hurrah, Hurrah, Deborah!
Roy Skodnick,  author of  James Metcalf, True Son of Hephaestus

Deborah Gorlin is a virtuoso. The poems in Open Fire burst with lush coruscations of metaphor, lapidary correspondences, and extravagant images that nest like Russian dolls. These poems are marked by an acute intelligence, a wry sensibility and a dry wit, where gas jets are “like a jacuzzi for corpses.” Gorlin is unafraid to name our darkest secrets and cruel passions, but her poems are profoundly reassuring—she loves us anyway.
Gary Young, Even So: New and Selected Poems,andThat’s What I Thought

Life of the Garment, Winner of the 2014 May Sarton New Hampshire Prize for Poetry

In her vital, elegiac poems, Deborah Gorlin inventories her dead in urgent acts of recognition and commemoration. Family members—both nuclear and extended—appear in their native stories to reanimate local histories, intimate geographies, and lost times. In a different series of personae poems, Gorlin catalogues dolls and totems within their particular cultural habitats, which range from Africa to the Andes, and imagines their daemonic hopes, dreams and emotions. In a final act of inclusion, she takes stock of her own spiritual hesitations, yearnings, approximations, and explorations of such crazy topics as fingernails, Hebraic trees, and fat. 

Deborah Gorlin lusts after thingness—even as she knows that its eerie emptiness will disenchant in the end. A wizard of description and with humor that bears burdens at its core, she focuses her raw wonder on the real until it’s revealed as if new. Poem after poem, the elation and elegies of Gorlin’s language melt in your mouth like hard candies. Emptiness and fullness, in these poems we sample a taste of each.

—Alice B. Fogel, New Hampshire Poet Laureate, author of Interval

In poem after poem in Life of the Garment, Deborah Gorlin clothes us in her fabric of sung words, with characters unique and familiar, and facsimiles of love that open and close their eyes, comfort, and gaze upon us. Read this fine collection—you will see for yourself.

—Gary Margolis, 2014 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize judge and author of Raking the Winter Leaves

Life of the Garment ranges freely through two worlds: the familiar, recognizable one, and the one that lies beneath its surface, a place rich with imaginative metaphor. Gorlin is unafraid of the truths and dangers that lie coiled beneath every surface, and stubbornly determined to see everything, even “God, naked, underneath the clothing.” Her poems are full of sleight of hand, disarming warmth, and humor, with a maturity that brings each revelation to full fruition. This is a rich, surprising and moving book.

—Chase Twichell, author of Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been

 From the “spill of creation,” Deborah Gorlin celebrates and elegizes the “human hullaballoo,” her metaphors a dazzling fest of language and music. She links the spiritual realm to the embodied world, exploring, for example, how dolls serve as effigies and talismans. An exuberant sense of humor illuminates popular culture; a love of art history and folk traditions delights. Gorlin’s great achievement here—a rich rendering of how we “dress” out nakedness—makes Life of the Garment a book of stunning originality.

—Robin Becker, author of Tiger Heron

1996 White Pine Press Poetry Prize

In Deborah Gorlin’s Bodily Course, a complex love affair occurs just at the juncture where language and the unsayable collide. These poems crackle with urgent verve. Consciousness here roots itself with unexpected ferocity squarely in the realm of the physical but then, too, radiates the imagination’s strange and lovely fires sparked by a wild, good love of language and of life. These poems, from start to finish, show the world transformed by original vision, by a finely honed intellect and by an open heart. Ms. Gorlin is one of the freshest and most surprising poets I’ve read in years. I’ll carry her poems with me for a long, long time.

–Mekeel McBride

The poems in Bodily Course are intelligent to the point of being scientific, and sensuous to the point of danger. Deborah Gorlin is mistress of “really a riotous cornucopia” of language, observation, wild sensation.

–Alicia Ostriker

Deborah Gorlin is a poet of visceral wisdom. “You can’t botch dying,” she says in her poem “Graces,” writing as a scientist of the human condition, always observing what is or might be under the skin in her meditations about parents, children, and paintings of such subjects. In “Art Supplies” she presents herself as someone so hungry for art that, like a southern clay-eater, her response to crayons and other art supplies is to want to eat them. Thus art is physiological for her, a form of organic life and her poems are almost biological specimens, in their beautifully observed representations of the world.

–Diane Wakoski

Links   Hampshire College website  Bauhan Publishing reading with Gary Margolis  In conversation with Eula Biss