cover of book
 

Last Lake
by Reginald Gibbons
University of Chicago Press, 2016
eISBN: 978-0-226-41759-2 | Paper: 978-0-226-41745-5
Library of Congress Classification PS3557.I1392L37 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.54

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
From Ritual
 
A slow parade of old west enthusiasts,
camp song and hymn, came in along the winding
 
way where rural declined to suburban, slow
riders and wagoners passing a cow staked
 
to graze, some penned cattle looking vacantly
up—not in vacant lots the ancient icons
 
of wealth they had been in odes, prayers and epics,
in sacrifices and customs of bride-price
 
or dowry.  (It’s good people no longer make
blood sacrifices, at gas stations and stores,
 
for example, and in the crunching gravel
parking lots of small churches—oh but we do.)

“The evening forgives the alleyway,” Reginald Gibbons writes in his tenth book of poems—but such startling simplicities are overwhelmed in us by the everyday and the epochal. Across the great range of Gibbons’s emblematic, vividly presented scenes, his language looks hard at and into experience and feeling. Words themselves have ideas, and have eyes—inwardly looking down through their own meanings, as the poet considers a lake in the Canadian north, a Chicago neighborhood, a horse caravan in Texas, a church choir, a bookshelf, or an archeological dig on the steppes near the Volga River. The last lake is the place of both awe and elegy.

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