Last Lake (Phoenix Poets) (Paperback)

By Reginald Gibbons

University of Chicago Press, 9780226417455, 96pp.

Publication Date: October 10, 2016

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From Ritual
A slow parade of old west enthusiasts,
camp song and hymn, came in along the winding
way where rural declined to suburban, slow
riders and wagoners passing a cow staked
to graze, some penned cattle looking vacantly
up—not in vacant lots the ancient icons
of wealth they had been in odes, prayers and epics,
in sacrifices and customs of bride-price
or dowry.  (It’s good people no longer make
blood sacrifices, at gas stations and stores,
for example, and in the crunching gravel
parking lots of small churches—oh but we do.)

“The evening forgives the alleyway,” Reginald Gibbons writes in his tenth book of poems—but such startling simplicities are overwhelmed in us by the everyday and the epochal. Across the great range of Gibbons’s emblematic, vividly presented scenes, his language looks hard at and into experience and feeling. Words themselves have ideas, and have eyes—inwardly looking down through their own meanings, as the poet considers a lake in the Canadian north, a Chicago neighborhood, a horse caravan in Texas, a church choir, a bookshelf, or an archeological dig on the steppes near the Volga River. The last lake is the place of both awe and elegy.

About the Author

Reginald Gibbons is a Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University. 

Praise For Last Lake (Phoenix Poets)

“Gibbons brings a sharp, stereoscopic vision to the landscapes and situations he evokes as he is at once vitally attentive to the present and acutely aware of the weight of history. . . . These are supple, reflective, and striking works of conscience in which scholarship is matched by sensuousness, and gravitas is balanced by irreverence and wit.”

— Booklist