This lush, sensuous book illumines a deep interior—we feel as if we’re holding a torch to the wall of a cave, seeing the beginning of the imagination itself in the outline of a primal world. The unforgettable, sometimes shocking images of Phyllis Stowell’s Einstein’s Knot refresh not only acts of perception but acts of insight, energizing the poems with intimacy and candor. Stowell is blithely companionable with the sublime. And she’s strangely affectionate to hard-won truths and to the bracing circumstances that generate them. I love this book for its strength and beauty, for its sense willingness to do difficult spiritual work and for its original sense of the pleasure of that work: “If there resides within us an enigmatic god / that changes only when we change / how change without illumination?” Poetry should always be this deep, this immediate, and this raw.
Phyllis Stowell’s new book is full of magic and mystery; complex, witty, and often poignant; each poem is a meditation held together with little knots of wonder. Love, grief, childhood memories, and mortality all take their places in the shadows of the mind and the stony reality of the everyday.
–––Sandra M. Gilbert