The Language of Stone by Joan Dobbie
Joan Dobbie began writing her "stone poems" in 1997 when the late Irish poet, Noelle Vial, conducting a Eugene Oregon poetry workshop, gave "Stone/Isolation"(verbally: "stone-slash-isolation") as a writing prompt. This triggered something like a geyser of "stone poems" that kept leaping out of Joan's brain into her computer where they rumbled and roiled for a couple of decades to finally burst out through some long brewing fault in her psyche into this book. These myth-like poems hone in on various facets of life in a troubled relationship through the sharp, unbending, spotlight of stone. Some of the poems are actually funny, some utterly serious. Some have a kind of twisted fairytale quality. All strike deep. In their wake, a reader might never see either "stone" or "isolation" or in fact much of anything else in quite the same way.
Here's what people have to say--
~Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
Each poem in The Language of Stone is as spare and potent as a discovered folk myth. Joan Dobbie, with unsettling pith, uncovers movements of the soul during an intimate relationship as it misses and dissolves. Each poem is a stone laid to mark a movement on the way to breaking free. Transformation. These wise and crafty poems build, resonate, wink, foretell and shadow each other until the reader, like the water in Dobbie’s poem “Stones Do Not Float,” is “everywhere touched.”
~Louisa Lindsay, storyteller, poet, and producer of mixed-media dreamscapes
The Language of Stone is a raw portrait of missed connections and the terror of being consumed by the Other. It is the poetry of fables and fairy tales in a terrain where feelings are treacherous and the impulse to cling to our isolation remains at odds with our longing for tenderness and the experience of being known. Yet there is a healing among the stones. These verses confirm that even the cold, rigid center of our fears can wear away and blossom into new life.
~Sabena Stark’s book-in-progress won the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship