In this fat book I find
a signature, my own, my name
done in my same hand, but different.
I could not make it that way now.
—from “Anthologies II”
Although George Garrett is best known for his outstanding fiction, he has also written a large body of superb poetry. This generous compilation, which brings together the work of almost a half century and adds to it some forty-three new poems, splendidly affirms Henry Taylor’s assertion that Garrett’s poetry “is among the treasures of contemporary literature.”
Garrett’s older poems are arranged in roughly chronological order, enabling the reader to see how his work has changed even as it addresses his unaltering central concerns. Through various styles and forms, ranging from bawdy satires to quiet lyrics, Garrett remains an unwavering moralist, one who confronts larger issues without affectation or evasion. The new poems here cover fresh ground and offer surprising discoveries, but their voice is unmistakably Garrett’s.
Garrett’s poems can be intensely personal, extremely witty, evocative of real places, or beautiful love ballads. Yet, for all of its diversity, Garrett’s poetry has an extraordinary unity of vision that is magnified in this remarkable collection of his life’s work.
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