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110pp. +  Soft Cover. Perfect Bound. 6" x 9".  .

$14.95, Shipping Included

A great work from new writer, David Iribarne. His new work of poetry, Bones, Skin & Soul is a monumental study of love, pain, cancer, life and death.  This book will open doors you believed were closed long ago.  The book includes a beautiful foreword written by Tom Miner:

David Iribarne does not look like a poet: a bear of a man, 6’5", imposing, a tank, he’s a linebacker of a guy. At 41, he certainly doesn’t look like most people’s image of a writer of love poems. And the life he’s been dealt: bipolar, struggling with depression, losing his mother when he was 20, his father when 32, and most recently (though not mentioned in this collection), his sister; born into a family plagued by cancer - his biography reads like a Greek tragedy. That he’s able to carve out of this tumult the serenity, the equanimity, to write poetry at all is something of a miracle.

As the Canadian writer Mordecai Richler once wrote, "Fundamentally, all writing is about the same thing: it’s about dying, about the brief flicker of time we have here, and the frustrations that it creates." For much of this superb collection of poems, death is David Iribarne’s subject matter, yet these poems are never depressing. In his first section, "Bones," he details his mother’s descent into cancer after an 11-year remission. "Pain is her shadow," he writes, as she suffers through radiation, lurching from chair to table, her body withering away until her legs are "like sticks." Around the Thanksgiving table with her family, she "…doesn’t know/ what to be thankful for." Then she realizes, "…that the bones of the meat/ she’s about to eat/ are stronger than her own."

A good poem should shake us awake, make us see something in a startling new way, and this collection is full of poems that do just that. One of the best is "Jeopardy," where the narrator describes watching the quiz show with his mother who is playing along with the contestants:

I sit, watching, knowing no matter

how much information is gathered

no matter how much

research is completed

the answers to her important questions

will come too late.

In the second section, "Skin," David describes his father’s long decline from skin cancer and kidney disease, his scarred head, the defibrillator, walker, and wheelchair, with barely enough energy to watch television: "…everyday, he loses something." Still, even in his father’s final week, "these days taught me/ how to live/ as he died." Iribarne’s powerful images of death offer hope from painful experience. His are words that heal even if they cannot cure.

His parents deaths behind him, the poems soar in the final section, "Soul," where David shows how facing his fears has taught him how to savor life. A new love enters the poems, and he revels in the simple pleasures of the body, showering in the dark, memorizing "that scar on your shoulder/ that groove in your arm/ that little birthmark on your leg." He describes how broken he feels in his love’s absence, and how "…seeing your beautiful smile/ puts me back together/ making me smooth again." It is here that we realize that his theme has all along been love, family, survival.

Iribarne has worked for years in the mental health field, facilitating group therapy sessions in grief, anger management, and loss, and it shows here. After reading these poems, you’ll feel like you’ve survived a fiercely cathartic therapy session, your heart wrenched, then cleansed and deeply healed; you’ll burst through the surface, gasping for air, with renewed vigor and clarity.

There’s no clever wordplay here - these poems speak directly from the heart. The book you are holding in your hands is the work of one of Sacramento’s most imaginative writer - David Iribarne.

Enjoy.

Tom Miner.
Professor of English
Sacramento City College

 

Read what some are saying of his new work:
 

“Iribarne uses a gentle pen to mend hearts before they’re broken, touches softly what needs to remain unharmed and forgives injury before the bruise has set. He writes love poems – they’re wonderful.”

           Bill Gainer,
          Poet

 

“In all my years as a poetry reader, I’ve seldom come across work that is so powerfully drawn from such sensitive observations of relationships. Family shapes David Iribarne and his creative experience… Iribarne has a giant poetic understanding of what it is to be human”

           Frank Dixon Graham,
          Poet and former “Poetry Now” Editor

 

 

“David Iribarne is a passionate writer who isn’t timid about speaking his poetic mind. On one page, his big, heartfelt nature can be witnessed through the eyes of a child, a nurturing parent, a grieving loved one or even a playful lover. Turn the page and he proves he isn’t afraid to tackle the dark, scary stuff that reminds all of us how fragile we are as humans – the kinds of things that make a soul wince. No matter the emotion this writer presents to the reader, every single one of Iribarne’s words comes from a gentle place.”

            Laura Martin,
            Writer

 

 

Iribarne earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from CSUS. He currently resides in Sacramento. He has had poems published in Poetry Now, Tule Review, Sussurus, Catchword, Medusa’s Kitchen, Primal Urge, WTF?!, Monterey Poetry Review, Convergence, Coalesce Magazine and has had work in the Creating Freedom exhibit on Domestic Violence at California Museum. He also won second prize in Sacramento News & Review’s student poetry contest in 2005. He is published in SPC’s Sacramento Anthology Late Peaches and in Sacramento Voices. One of his poems was also recently developed with other authors’ poems into a play by playwright Ed Claudio entitled The River City Anthology. Iribarne encourages everyone to become involved in some way to fight against cancer, so that one day we can abolish this horrible disease.