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Perfections of Zeros, Poems by Luray Gross
The lyrics of Luray Gross’s The Perfections of Zeros challenge the reader not with their gaudy display, but with their austere silence. Story becomes sound and feeling instead of image and action. Understated and spare, as much about what is not as what is, they are an uncompromising emotional journey through human lives.
Sample Poems by Luray Gross
Luray Gross is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Forenoon, published in 1990 by The Attic Press in Westfield, NJ, and Elegant Reprieve, winner of the 1995-96 Still Waters Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. In 2000, she was named a Distinguished Teaching Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was the recipient of the Robert Fraser Open Poetry Competition Award from Bucks County (PA) Community College. She is the 2002 Poet Laureate of Bucks County. A storyteller, as well as a poet, she works extensively as a teaching artist throughout New Jersey and is affiliated with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poetry Program, Storytelling Arts, Inc. of Kingston, NJ and the New Jersey Writers Project. She and her husband live Bucks County, Pennsylvania and are the parents of two young adults.
“‘There are emptiness which should not be filled. / There are emptinesses no one can fill.’ At the heart of The Perfection of Zeros, Luray Gross’s new book, lies an austerity that, paradoxically, is generous and brave and encouraging. I love what is not being said in these disciplined, yet daring poems almost as much as I love what is being said; that is to say, I love the space that surrounds the words of these poems, the space these words make possible. In this space we are invited to listen; to attend to the world, its delights and its dangers. Her poetry recognizes, as Keats’ did, our mortal limitations, and her poems test these limitations at the same time as they respect them: ‘Be prepared to travel light./ Be prepared to lose anything.’Luray Gross’ poems, as do those of Keats, help us to travel light and far and to do so with grace and courage.”—Christopher Bursk
“Because Luray Gross knows that language has a spirit, that language is infused with the power both to destroy and sustain us, her poems are unsparing in their exactness, and remarkable for their ability to know when to speak and when to remain silent. We are led as if by a flashlight through the dark woods of this book—our minds alert to each poem’s breath—and in the light’s gleam feel all the loneliness of a shoe abandoned by the road, a grave covered with fresh dirt, a boy frozen by a river bank, a man driving a car through snow and sleet toward nothing but his own grief. In The Perfection of Zeros, Gross reminds us of what it is we must leave behind in this life, and all that is left—which is, in the end, the ‘light burden of joy.’”—Meg Kearney
“Luray Gross is a poet of great range and depth. In The Perfection of Zeros we see how everyday moments, respectfully treated and honestly explored, open doors into the poet’s innermost places. Luray Gross tells us, ‘I want us both to hunger for more.’ With her as our guide, we begin to open the door to that hunger.”—Pablo Medina
“The poems of Luray Gross transmute the workaday line between dreaming and waking into a great, wavering field where the dead do not stay dead and the living are not at all sure what living is about. This is poetry’s ancient and ever-contemporary realm, and Luray Gross writes poems that wryly enchant while deftly clobbering any lingering certainties. Again and again, in a myriad of ways, she shows how nothing can be the way it should be and how strangely fortunate we are for that. She is utterly original and has mastered her art thoroughly.”—Baron Wormser
ISBN 1932339361, 100 pages, $17.00