The Last Nostalgia: Poems, 1982-1990

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University of Arkansas Press, 1999 - Poetry - 206 pages
2 Reviews
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
1
III
21
IV
23
V
25
VI
28
VII
31
VIII
32
IX
33
LXII
116
LXIII
117
LXIV
119
LXV
120
LXVI
121
LXVII
123
LXVIII
125
LXIX
126

X
36
XI
37
XII
39
XIII
41
XIV
42
XV
45
XVI
46
XVII
48
XVIII
49
XIX
50
XX
51
XXI
53
XXII
54
XXIII
56
XXIV
58
XXV
59
XXVI
60
XXVII
62
XXVIII
63
XXIX
65
XXX
67
XXXI
69
XXXII
72
XXXIII
73
XXXIV
76
XXXV
77
XXXVI
79
XXXVII
85
XXXVIII
87
XXXIX
88
XL
89
XLI
90
XLII
91
XLIII
93
XLIV
94
XLV
95
XLVI
96
XLVII
97
XLVIII
98
XLIX
99
L
100
LI
102
LII
104
LIII
106
LIV
107
LV
108
LVI
109
LVII
110
LVIII
111
LIX
112
LX
113
LXI
114
LXX
128
LXXI
129
LXXII
132
LXXIII
133
LXXIV
134
LXXV
135
LXXVI
136
LXXVII
137
LXXVIII
138
LXXIX
139
LXXX
140
LXXXI
142
LXXXII
147
LXXXIII
148
LXXXIV
149
LXXXV
150
LXXXVI
151
LXXXVII
153
LXXXVIII
154
LXXXIX
156
XC
157
XCI
158
XCII
159
XCIII
160
XCIV
162
XCV
163
XCVI
164
XCVII
165
XCVIII
167
XCIX
170
C
171
CI
172
CII
173
CIII
175
CIV
176
CV
178
CVI
180
CVII
181
CVIII
182
CIX
184
CX
186
CXI
188
CXII
189
CXIII
190
CXIV
192
CXV
193
CXVI
194
CXVII
195
CXVIII
196
CXIX
198
CXX
199
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Page 1 - 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 1 - 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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