Slow Trains Overhead: Chicago Poems and Stories

Slow Trains Overhead: Chicago Poems and Stories

by Reginald Gibbons
Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press


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Slow Trains Overhead: Chicago Poems and Stories

Few people writing today could successfully combine an intimate knowledge of Chicago with a poet’s eye, and capture what it’s really like to live in this remarkable city. Embracing a striking variety of human experience—a chance encounter with a veteran on Belmont Avenue, the grimy majesty of the downtown El tracks, domestic violence in a North Side brownstone, the wide-eyed wonder of new arrivals at O’Hare, and much more—these new and selected poems and stories by Reginald Gibbons celebrate the heady mix of elation and despair that is city life. With Slow Trains Overhead, he has rendered a living portrait of Chicago as luminously detailed and powerful as those of Nelson Algren and Carl Sandburg.

Gibbons takes the reader from museums and neighborhood life to tense proceedings in Juvenile Court, from comically noir-tinged scenes at a store on Clark Street to midnight immigrants at a gas station on Western Avenue, and from a child's piggybank to nature in urban spaces. For Gibbons, the city’s people, places, and historical reverberations are a compelling human array of the everyday and the extraordinary, of poverty and beauty, of the experience of being one among many. Penned by one of its most prominent writers, Slow Trains Overhead evokes and commemorates human life in a great city.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226290584
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 05/15/2010
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Reginald Gibbons is a poet, fiction writer, translator, and essayist. At Northwestern University, he is professor of English and classics, director of the Center for the Writing Arts, and codirector of the MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing. His most recent poetry collection, Creatures of a Day, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award.



Table of Contents


Adams & Wabash

A Meeting

Five Pears or Peaches

Ode: Citizens

Avian Time

Elsewhere Children

A Car

Milwaukee & Division

Small Business

Forsaken in the City

A Large Heavy-Faced Woman, Pocked, Unkempt, in a Loose Dress


A Leap

Mekong Restaurant



Ode: At a Twenty-Four-Hour Gas Station


The Vanishing Point

Just Imagine

On Sad Suburban Afternoons of Autumn

Broadway & Argyle

Slow Motion


An Aching Young Man


Boy on a Busy Corner

A Man in a Suit

Hungry Man Raids Supermarket

The Blue Dress

The Affect of Elms

Red Line Howard / 95th


Rich Pale Pink

Friday Snow


State & Wacker

On Belmont



No Matter What Has Happened This May

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