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Cover for When All the World Is Old

When All the World Is Old

John Rybicki


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At the age of twenty-nine, just five years after they met, John Rybicki's wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her sixteen-year battle and praises the caregivers--nurses and doctors and friends--who helped them throughout. He invites the reader to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple's son, the lifted prayers, borrowed time, and lovers' last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakes in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.

The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds's journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer us a portrait of light and grace.

Rybicki's hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all of our love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway. The poet has dipped his pen in despair, but as he cleaves his heart and our own, he transmits the exquisite pain of loss into a beauty so fierce and scalding and ultimately healing that the reader comes out whole on the other side.

Lookout Books, 9780984592265, 106pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2012

About the Author

Poet John Rybicki was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of the poetry collections Traveling at High Speeds (1996) and We Bed Down Into Water: Poems (2008). His third collection, When All the World Is Old (2012), was written in response to the long illness and death of his wife, the poet Julie Moulds. His poems have been published in The Best American Poetry 2008, Alaska Quarterly Review, Field, the Paris Review, and Poetry. Rybicki has been a writer-in-residence at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. He teaches poetry to young writers through the InsideOut Literary Arts Project and Wings of Hope Hospice. He lives in Michigan with his son.