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"X" is the kiss and betrayal, the embrace, the crucifixion, the mathematical unknown. In his sixth book of poems, James Galvin writes from a deep, philosophical engagement with the landscape and faces a "vertigo of solitude" with his marriage dissolved, his only daughter grown and gone, and the log house he built by hand abandoned. "What did...
"X" is the kiss and betrayal, the embrace, the crucifixion, the mathematical unknown. In his sixth book of poems, James Galvin writes from a deep, philosophical engagement with the landscape and faces a "vertigo of solitude" with his marriage dissolved, his only daughter grown and gone, and the log house he built by hand abandoned. "What did I love that made me believe it would last?" he asks.
Something has to be true enough to be
Taken for granted.
In the hospital I saw
An old man
Caressing the face of an old woman.
This same man, young, caressed her face
In just that way.
That’s the stillness
At the center of change—
A sadness worth dying for, I swear—
There is no other.
—from "Dying into What I’ve Done"
"James Galvin has a voice and a world, perhaps the two most difficult things to achieve in poetry."—The Nation
"In James Galvin we have a superior poet."—American Book Review
"Galvin’s poems have the virtues of precise observation and original language, yes, but what he also brings to the table is a rigor of mind and firmness of phrasing which make the slightest of his poems an architectural pleasure."—Harvard Review
James Galvin has published five collections of poetry, most recently Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975–1997, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Lenore Marshall/The Nation Prize. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed prose book, The Meadow and a novel, Fencing the Sky. He lives in Laramie, Wyoming, where he works as a rancher part of each year, and in Iowa City, where he is a member of the permanent faculty of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
|Dear May Eighth||5|
|Dear Nobody's Business||7|
|Wild Irises on Dirty Woman Creek||8|
|Alpenrose Growing by the Door||9|
|Dying into What I've Done||19|
|Promises Are for Liars||22|
|Conflagration of Opposites||32|
|Heat Waves in Winter Distance||35|
|River Edged with Ice||36|
|Winter Solstice Full Moon at Perigee||37|
|Show Me Your Original Face, the Face You Had Before Your Parents Were Born||41|
|Cherry Blossoms Blowing in Wet, Blowing Snow||42|
|Nature, beside Herself||43|
|Sunset through Spring Snow||44|
|Depending on the Wind||46|
|Putting Down the Night||48|
|Splinters of the True Cross||50|
|Nature Averts Her Eyes||51|
|About the Author||67|