The Last Nostalgia: Poems, 1982-1990

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University of Arkansas Press, Jan 1, 1999 - Poetry - 206 pages
Joe Bolton studied universal connections--the tension between the transitory beauty of the physical world and a yearning for the eternal. He turned his eye to the world, to the cultures and the people around him, and saw reflections of himself. In this collection, he works in both free verse and traditional forms, rendering scenes of exquisite detail that pry into the hearts of his characters and reveal the contradictions that bind father to son, lover to lover, and person to person. From the broken hills and drowsy river valleys around Paducah, Kentucky, to Houston diners and Gulf Coast shrimp boats, to the tropical cityscape of Miami, Bolton creates vivid scenes in which his characters confront the loneliness and the "little music" of their lives. With a richly musical voice and an ear for the cadences of everyday speech, Bolton gives his readers not the trappings of love and grief, but the very things themselves, rendered in lines that reverberate with the authority of sincerity and truth.
 

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The last nostalgia: poems, 1982-1990

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"In Atlanta once, on Peachtree Street,/ I met a woman and took her in my arms,/ Lifting her body to see the blond fire/ Of her hair flare against buildings, sky." When Bolton killed himself at the age ... Read full review

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It's late, and I'm spent; and yet I cannot sleep. I seek recluse, as I often do these days, in this book that fell into my life by accident (does anything ever happen by accident?) and has been my bedside companion ever since: Joe Bolton's exalted "The Last Nostalgia". I read it with the pain of knowing that Bolton won't write another (since he took his own life at the age of 28 soon after finishing it). I read it with the fear of finishing it, like the work of Dalida that I dread to know entirely because I am aware of its finiteness and its finality. I wrote in my review of it on Amazon that it would be the one book I'd take to a deserted island--and it's only because I can't commit all of it to memory. Now I understand people who want to commit the Quran to memory: to love a book so much, to find its construction so perfect as to want to make it a part of your self. I turn every page in awe and in anticipation of that voracious humanity, that attuneness to life that proved to be overwhelming. I jump over the words hoping to find in them that which would still that little void perched right above the lungs, at the base of the throat, croaking at the end of the night, longing to be whole.. 

Contents

II
xiii
III
19
IV
21
V
23
VI
26
VII
29
VIII
30
IX
31
LXIII
114
LXIV
115
LXV
117
LXVI
118
LXVII
119
LXVIII
121
LXIX
123
LXXI
126

X
34
XI
35
XII
37
XIII
39
XIV
40
XV
43
XVI
44
XVII
46
XVIII
47
XIX
48
XX
49
XXI
51
XXII
52
XXIII
54
XXIV
56
XXV
57
XXVI
58
XXVII
60
XXVIII
61
XXIX
63
XXX
65
XXXI
67
XXXII
70
XXXIII
71
XXXIV
74
XXXV
75
XXXVI
77
XXXVII
83
XXXVIII
85
XXXIX
87
XL
88
XLI
89
XLII
91
XLIII
92
XLIV
93
XLV
94
XLVI
95
XLVIII
96
XLIX
97
L
98
LI
100
LII
102
LIV
104
LV
105
LVI
106
LVII
107
LVIII
108
LIX
109
LX
110
LXI
111
LXII
112
LXXII
127
LXXIII
130
LXXIV
131
LXXV
132
LXXVI
133
LXXVII
134
LXXVIII
135
LXXIX
136
LXXX
137
LXXXI
138
LXXXII
140
LXXXIII
145
LXXXIV
146
LXXXV
147
LXXXVI
148
LXXXVII
149
LXXXVIII
151
LXXXIX
152
XCI
154
XCII
155
XCIII
156
XCIV
157
XCV
158
XCVI
160
XCVII
161
XCVIII
162
XCIX
163
C
165
CI
168
CII
169
CIII
170
CIV
171
CV
173
CVI
174
CVII
176
CVIII
178
CIX
179
CX
180
CXI
182
CXII
184
CXIII
186
CXIV
187
CXV
188
CXVI
190
CXVII
191
CXVIII
192
CXIX
193
CXX
194
CXXI
196
CXXII
197
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Page 19 - ... was the saddest word of all there is nothing else in the world its not despair until time its not even time until it was The last note sounded.
Page xiii - Did she know why she closed it? Did she feel that now, having met her father at last, she now was truly bereaved and alone? That only when you are truly alone, can you begin to live? That when you truly begin to live you must construct your own world and therefore have no need for words written on paper, words that can \ only give the shadow of a world already lived?
Page xiii - It is curious that the density of life On a given plane is ascertainable By dividing the number of legs one sees by two. At least the number of people may thus be fixed. XLIV Freshness is more than the east wind blowing round one. There is no such thing as innocence in autumn, Yet, it may be, innocence is never lost. XLV Encore un instant de bonheur. The words Are a woman's words, unlikely to satisfy The taste of even a country connoisseur.

References to this book

About the author (1999)

Joe Bolton was born in Cadiz, Kentucky, in 1961 and received an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. He taught at both the University of Arizona and the University of Florida at Gainesville. His work appeared in numerous magazines, and he published two collections of poetry, Breckinridge County Suite (The Cummington Press, 1987) and Days of Summer Gone (Galileo Press, 1990). Mr. Bolton took his own life in March 1990 at the age of twenty-eight.

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