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2008 National Book Award Finalist,

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Photo © Marc Hauser.
Reginald Gibbons
Creatures of a Day

Louisiana State University Press


Our hunger feeds on witness' says Reginald Gibbons in Creatures of a Day, and his spacious, earnest poems are sinuously connected to the world, meticulously sensitive to the lives of others in the "long shadows of the Chicago mountains." Layered, tonally subtle, conversant with the mysteries of the social and the psychological, these poems tutor us in a style of conscience that is fresh, brave and humble, exactly suited to this moment in America.


Born and raised in Houston, Texas, and now a long-time resident near Chicago, poet and fiction writer Reginald Gibbons received his B.A. in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University in 1969, and his M.A. in English and creative writing and Ph. D. in comparative literature from Stanford University in 1971 and 1974, respectively. Gibbons is professor of English, Classics, and Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University, and also Co-Director of the MA/MFA in Creative Writing and Director of the Center for the Writing Arts. He was the editor of TriQuarterly magazine from 1981 to 1997. He has also taught at Princeton, Columbia, Rutgers, and the University of Chicago, and since 1989 he has also been a member of the core faculty of the low-residency MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.

Gibbons is the author of eight books of poetry, including It’s Time (2002), Homage to Longshot O’Leary (1999), and Sparrow: New and Selected Poems (1997); of the novel Sweetbitter, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and of other books. Gibbons’ translations of Sophocles, Selected Poems: Odes and Fragments, have just been published, following his earlier translations of Antigone and Euripides’ Bakkhai with the late Charles Segal. Gibbons has received the Folger Shakespeare Library’s O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been included in the prize anthologies Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize.

ABOUT THE BOOK(from the publisher)

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.



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