ABOUT THIS BOOK
Homestead, Pa.: “The Former Steel Capital of the World.” In this elegant and arresting book of poems, Robert Gibb deftly renders a world of molten steel and red-hot ingots, of lives lived according to the factory whistle, and of a grandfather who “plunged / Like an angel, his body broken / And on fire.” Passing through fire, this book makes plain, is one of the necessary conditions of witness.
These lyrical and devastatingly beautiful poems are powerful in both their ability to evoke the past and in the poignancy of the losses they catalog, beginning with heartbreaking personal losses and extending into communal ones. Indeed, a book so freighted with loss and sadness might have deteriorated into maudlin nostalgia in lesser hands. But Gibb has elevated The Burning World to the level of tragedy, with all the dignity and severity that that word calls forth.