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.
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.