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Creatures of a Day


88 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / None


  Paperback / 9780807133187 / March 2008


In Creatures of a Day, Reginald Gibbons presents intense encounters with everyday people amidst the historical and social contexts of everyday life. His poems are meditations on memory, obligation, love, death, celebration, and sorrow. Some of them show how the making of poetry itself seems inextricably enmeshed with personal encounter and with history. This new collection includes five odes woven from interactions with others, thirteen shorter poems, and "Fern-Texts," a kind of biographical and autobiographical essay in syllabic verse on the parallel decades of the English 1790s and the American 1960s. Using quotations from the notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Fern-Texts" interweaves the dilemmas of love, ethics, and political engagement in Coleridge's life when he was in his twenties and in the poet's own life when, at the same age, he lived in California.

Ranging from poems of witness to paradoxical speculations, from the personal intimacy of love and death to the broad scope of historical turmoil, Creatures of a Day is an unusual, powerful collection.

"In cold spring air"

In cold
spring air the 
white wisp- 
breath of 
a blackbird 
we don't know 
to un- 
wrap these blind- 
folds we 
keep thinking 
we are 
seeing through 

Reginald Gibbons is the author of seven previous volumes of poetry, translations of Spanish and Mexican poetry and ancient Greek tragedy, a short story collection, and a novel, and he served as editor of TriQuarterly from 1981 to 1997. He has won the O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and other honors. A native of Texas, he now lives in Evanston, Illinois, where he is a professor of English and classics at Northwestern University.

Advance Praise for Creatures of a Day

"In the last few years Gibbons has written some of the best poems in America,—big, rich, meticulous, thoughtful canvases, social landscapes with personal and metaphysical shadows. ‘Our hunger feeds on witness' he says, and anyone who reads ‘I had been reading Ancient Greeks' or ‘At a Twenty Four Hour Gas Station' will feel that our world has been exposed and understood in ways free of cliché. Creatures of a Day addresses ‘this incomprehensible country' at our incomprehensible moment and these brilliant and humble poems are as alive with consciousness, as satisfying as anything I know."—Tony Hoagland

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