The Great Fires: Poems, 1982-1992
JOYCE'S MOTTO has had much fame but few apostles. Among them, there has been Jack Gilbert and his orthodoxy, a strictness that has required of this poet, now in the seventh decade of his severe life, the penalty of his having had almost no fame at all. In an era that puts before the artist so many sleek and official temptations, keeping unflinchingly to a code of "silence, exile, and cunning" could not have been managed without a show of strictness well beyond the reach of the theater of the coy.
The "far, stubborn, disastrous" course of Jack Gilbert's resolute journey--not one that would promise in time to bring him home to the consolations of Penelope and the comforts of Ithaca but one that would instead take him ever outward to the impossible blankness of the desert--could never have been achieved in the society of others. What has kept this great poet brave has been the difficult company of his poems--and now we have, in Gilbert's third and most silent book, what may be, what must be, the bravest of these imperial accomplishments.
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ARNAUT DANIEL INVENTING barley beautiful birds body CAPABLANCA cold comes crying dances DANIEL INVENTING LOVE dark DAY SONGS Denmark DON GIOVANNI door DREAMS OF ARNAUT dress empty Eurydice everything eyes feet finally ﬂesh ﬂoor ﬂowers FORAGING FOR WOOD girls going-home train hair happy HARM AND BOON hear heart horses HOT NIGHTS IMAGINE THE GODS inside JACK GILBERT kerosene lamps look LORD SITS lost LOVE THE DEAD marriage Mediterranean light MICHIKO DEAD MICHIKO NOGAMI moon morning mountain naked nakedness NIGHT SONGS olive trees Orpheus Paradise Passion Perugia Pittsburgh PROSPERO DREAMS raccoon rain RELATIVE PITCH remember ripe river ruined searching shutters silence singing smell snow spirit STEEL GUITARS stone street stubborn summer sunlight sweet teak tell THEORETICAL LIVES things THINKING ABOUT ECSTASY trees trying UMBRIA upstairs valley voice walking watch weeds WHITE HEART wild window winter woman women