Everything We Always Knew Was True (Paperback)
Copper Canyon Press, 9781556594922, 72pp.
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
"James Galvin has a voice and a world, perhaps the two most difficult things to achieve in poetry."--The Nation
"Bleak and unsentimental but blessedly free of self-indulgence, these poems give the feeling of being absolutely essential."--Library Journal
"Galvin has] the virtues of precise observation and original language . . . a rigor of mind and firmness of phrasing which make each] poem an architectural pleasure."--Harvard Review
In his first collection in seven years, James Galvin expands upon his signature spare and gnomic lyric as he engages restrained astonishment, desire, and loss in a confessional voice. Whether considering masterpieces of painting or describing the austere landscape of his native Wyoming ranchlands, Galvin turns to highly imagistic yet intimate narratives to rain down compassion within isolation.
From "On the Sadness of Wedding Dresses":
On starless, windless nights like this
I can hear the wedding dresses
Weeping in their closets,
Luminescent with hopeless longing,
Like hollow angels.
They know they will never be worn again.
Who wants them now,
After their one heroic day in the limelight?
Yet they glow with desire
In the darkness of closets.
James Galvin passionately depicts the rural American West and the interactions between humans and nature in his best-selling memoir The Meadow and his novel Fencing the Sky. Galvin is also the author of several volumes of poetry and teaches at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He divides his time between Iowa and Wyoming.