The great fires: poems, 1982-1992

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A.A. Knopf, Mar 22, 1994 - Poetry - 90 pages
84 Reviews
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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Review: The Great Fires

User Review  - Goodreads

Jack Gilbert is unlike any poet I've ever read. His work fills me with a smouldering, gray feeling of animation that I want to jump from my desk, or into his poem, sink my teeth into the very death about which he writes and rip my own life from its jaws. So, yeah. Pretty good stuff here. Read full review

Review: The Great Fires

User Review  - Goodreads

This is the first volume I've read of Gilbert, and overall I liked it. Some hit my frustration with poetry that makes sense when you know the author, but otherwise are hard to grasp. But many others ... Read full review



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About the author (1994)

Jack Gilbert was born in Pittsburgh. He is the author of "The Great Fires: Poems 1982— 1992"; "Monolithos," which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and "Views of Jeopardy," the 1962 winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. He has also published a limited edition of elegiac poems under the title "Kochan," The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Gilbert lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

"From the Hardcover edition.

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