Jennifer Martelli was kind enough to review the new poetry book Gloved Against Blood by Cindy Veach.
Read the book review below.
In her debut poetry collection, Gloved Against Blood, Cindy Veach stitches a masterpiece of bloodlines. In her ghazal, “Dear Francis C. Lowell,” Veach writes:
Francis, you are the sin–not these cloven,
white perennials planted in a row.
They bleed I weave. I weave they bleed. Why can’t
you see–blood threads your looms all down the row?
Gloved Against Blood is greater than its parts: more than a family history, more than a tale of the looms of Lowell, of the “bloody cotton” that makes up a life and a country. It is a woven fabric, a “Gorgeous one,/red beyond belief . . . .”
Veach’s looms become organisms inextricable from the weavers. In her opening poem, “How It Resists,” the looms are female:
Their stanchions of white thread
spooling like udders,
my needy shuttles
of flowering dogwood
and the whole mill howls
as if cotton were milk–
The women who worked the Lowell mills, left homes–and were left alone in their homes–to provide. Even the act of entering and leaving becomes a living thing, a beast: “Not literal this threshold, two parts wild animal–/something to be wrangled with–one part fir . . . (“This Threshold He Did Not Carry Her Across”)”.