Liberian Pygmy Hippopotamus cover

Liberian Pygmy Hippopotamus

2011  Templar

The poems in this varied collection arise out of five main sources: memories of childhood and youth, evocation of patients in a psychiatric hospital, the stultifying nature of the office environment, the dying days of the poet’s father, and ordinary domestic events which take on a numinous significance. From childhood memories of his mother (“Folding the Sheets”) to a moving but unsentimental portrayal of his father’s last days in a hospice.

Gilbert treats potentially heavy emotional baggage with a light hand and a clear eye. The impressive “Corporate Memory,” addressed to a departed colleague, employs an extended surreal metaphor to depict the mind-destroying environment of a 9-to-5 office job; the subject is hardly original, but the central unifying image coupled with the ability to follow a highly original metaphor to its ‘logical’ conclusion make the poem unique.

Selected poems