The Last Nostalgia: Poems, 1982-1990
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, 1982-1990User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
"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
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..