- Publisher: Seven Stories Press (2022-04-12)
- Language: English
- Paperback: 112 pages
- ISBN-13: 9781644211540
- Item Weight: 260.82 grams
- Dimensions: 9.27 x 5.69 x 0.53 cm
Poems from the acclaimed author of Roy’s World, Wild at Heart, and many other works
The first words in Barry Gifford’s new poetry collection say it all—“Here I am wasting time again / writing poems to keep myself company” — doing what he has ever done, surprising his readers in kaleidoscopic prisms of color, turning every breath into a story, and himself into his most colorful character.
She stood and walked across the lawn
past the cottage and into the big house.
He stayed to watch the last of the sunset,
waiting for the flash of green.
When it was finally dark and there was
no moon and the fireflies appeared,
he got up and began walking toward the house.
He loved the Italian word for firefly,
lucciola. She was like that, flickering
on and off from moment to moment.
As he approached the house, he could hear
her singing: Vogliatemi bene, un bene
piccolino. It’s so strange, he thought,
life’s so fast and time’s too slow.
He stopped and watched the fireflies.
In my dream someone asked me if
I remembered Frank Jackson
Hearing this name brought tears
to my eyes though I’ve never
known anyone by that name
The mystery in these poems lives just beyond the province of words. In a strange way, Barry Gifford’s poems tell a wordless story, freed of the writer’s art. “It’s dangerous to remember / so much, especially for a writer / The temptation to make sense / of it is always there / where you and I / are no longer.” Daily life, family and friends, are much more important here than books. The beauty and elusiveness of women and music are of utmost importance, far more so than literature. As he attests: “I prefer music to poems, words don’t
live the same way—so, listen.”
About the Author
BARRY GIFFORD is the author of more than forty published works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into thirty languages. He began as a poet, and always returns to that “lyrical but laconic, compassionate but unsentimental” voice. His most recent books include Black Sun Rising/La Corazonada, Roy’s World: Stories 1973–2020, Writers, and Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels. His most recent poetry collection is Imagining Paradise: New and Selected Poems. Wild at Heart, directed by David Lynch and based on Gifford’s 1990 novel of the same name (one of the eight novels included in Sailor & Lula), from a script co-written by Lynch and Gifford, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990, the same year in which Wild at Heart was first published. Gifford and Lynch also cowrote the original screenplay for Lost Highway. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.