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At once erudite and plainspoken, imaginative and grounded in the grittily lunatic fundamentals of the human heart, here is the author’s definitive selection of his verse: the writings of an underground poet who lasted.
Published in The New Yorker, La Nouvelle Revue Française, and in nearly a hundred magazines and poetry journals from Los Angeles to Tokyo, from Lawrence, Kansas to Rome, Madrid, Paris, London, Beijing, and Bucharest, poems by Barry Gifford have been describing and changing our world for nearly half a century. Here in one volume for the first time is the poet’s own choice of work from his nine previous collections, as well as a rich selection of new poems. Altogether, Imagining Paradise represents the tremendous achievement of an underground poet who lasted. These poems describe a universe that is as populous and diverse as it is ephemeral and evanescent. Born of the world and of books and art in equal measure, they tell of the unyielding granite truths of people’s roller-coaster lives. And always there is the poet looking back, facing life and death and everything in between with equanimity, holding a steady hand to the quivering breast wherever there is breath.
“These poems are like Zen dominoes: no matter how shuffled, they always seem to come
out right.” -Booklist
“At his best, Gifford recalls William Carlos Williams: particular, lyrical but laconic,
compassionate but unsentimental.” -Publishers Weekly
“Barry Gifford’s pure lyrical self shines in these poems.” -Andrei Codrescu