The Dance Most of All


Publisher: Knopf
In this “pithy and poignant” (Booklist) late-in-life collection, the award-winning Jack Gilbert gives us characteristically bold and nuanced poems as he revisits the passions of a lifetime—the women, the places, and the mysterious and lonely offices of poetry itself.


THE SPELL CAST OVERIn the old days we could see nakedness onlyin the burlesque houses. In the lavishtheaters left over from vaudeville,ruined in the Great Depression. What had beengrand gestures of huge chandeliersand mythic heroes courting the goddesson the ceiling. Now the chandeliers were grimyand the ceilings hanging...
Read More


“These poems are deeply elegiac, looking back over a long life lived in the various modes one comes to associate with Gilbert: desire, love, longing, and happiness . . . For Gilbert, these poems suggest a satisfaction and peace with all he has done. For the rest of us, we may take Gilbert’s final work as a guide.” —The Oregonian

“The best poems here are valuable bulletins from a distant, private war fought over resources for affirmation, in which the most precious weapon is the capacity to ‘say grace over / almost everything.’” —Poetry