Retreat Teachers


Margaret Gibson

Margaret Gibson is the author of 12 books of poems, most recently Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, which was published in 2018. A poem from that collection, “Passage” appears in The Best Poems of 2017. Her earlier book, Broken Cup (2014), was a finalist for the 2016 Poet’s Prize while the title poem won a Pushcart Prize for that year. In 2019 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut.

“Margaret Gibson has created a voice and an art that connect the sensuous experience of the physical world with the inner life,” —Pattiann Rogers.

Nationally and internationally acclaimed, Margaret Gibson’s poetry is characterized by an uncommon diversity.  The voice may be predominantly lyrical and meditative, and yet there are award-winning, book-length narratives in which she fully inhabits the consciousness of her personae.  Hers is “a finely crafted lyricism and attention to detail rare among poets today,” wrote Brian Henry.  Gibson herself has said, “Writing poetry is an act of attention and receptivity.  You study whatever it is that strikes your attention—whether a scarlet tanager, river, field, or forest, whether mother, daughter, alcoholic, photographer, lover. You take what’s given into that part of the self that inquires, tests, embraces, and embodies.  Outer and inner coalesce and fuse.”

She is a Professor Emerita at the University of Connecticut, and lives in Preston, Connecticut. A long-time Zen practitioner, Gibson was a student of the late Peter Muryo Matthiessen.

Gibson’s other awards include the Lamont Selection for Long Walks in the Afternoon (1982), the Melville Kane Award for Memories of the Future (1986), The Connecticut Book Award in Poetry for One Body (2008). The Vigil was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry in 1993.

“Everything is ultimately connected,” she has written. “Everything, therefore, is both personal and impersonal. We’re part of an enormous, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful experience of unfolding Consciousness.”