by Reginald Gibbons


by Reginald Gibbons


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Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

Gibbons's first novel takes place in east Texas in 1910 during the time of white rule-not by law but by lynch mob. Amid the suffocating racism and fear, half-Choctaw, half-white Reuben Sweetbitter and Martha Clarke, a white woman, fall in love. Forbidden to be seen together, they escape to the town of Harriet, where an influential friend of Martha helps them settle down and raise a family. Atypical of love stories, this realistic work maintains a historical perspective in lending the couple short-lived happiness. Martha's brother James comes for vengeance, and Reuben flees to the forest, which has always been his refuge from the white world. Reuben and Martha's love is strong, but, dishearteningly, racism is stronger. Timely in the subject of interracial love, this authentic, richly detailed novel plumbs sacrifice, fear, and the loss of one's identity, bringing the anguish of the two young lovers to life. Highly recommended.

-Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781737513421
Publisher: JackLeg Press
Publication date: 08/01/2023
Pages: 452
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

Reginald Gibbons has published eleven books of poems, including CREATURES OF A DAY (Finalist for National Book Award) and, most recently, RENDITIONS. His novel SWEETBITTER won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Center for Hellenic Studies. His prizes include the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library; Best Novel, Best Book of Poems; and Best Short Story from the Texas Institute of Letters, Chicagoan of the Year in Literature (Chicago Tribune), .and The Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. His poems have been translated into Spanish, Italian, and French. He has published two collections of very short fiction/cnf, FIVE PEARS OR PEACHES (Broken Moon Press) and AN ORCHARD IN THE STREET (BOA Editions). He has also published HOW POEMS THINK (Univ. of Chicago Press) and volumes of translation: SELECTED POEMS OF LUIS CERNUDA (Univ. of California Press, then Sheep Meadow); [Jorge] GUILLÉN ON GUILLÉN: THE POETRY AND THE POET (Princeton UP); Sophocles' SELECTED POEMS: ODES AND FRAGMENTS (Princeton UP), and (with co-translator Charles Segal) Sophocles, ANTIGONE and Euripides, BAKKHAI (both, Oxford Univ. Press). He co-translated with poet Stanislaw Baranczak a volume of selected poems, THE WEIGHT OF THE BODY (TriQuarterly Books), and has recently completed co-translating with Russian poet Ilya Kutik, a volume of selected poems of Boris Pasternak, another of selected poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, and a third of selected poems of Kutik himself (these three books have been submitted to publishers). As editor or co-editor, Gibbons has published THE POET'S WORK (Univ. of Chicago); THE WRITER IN OUR WORLD (TriQuarterly, reprinted by Atlantic Monthly Press); FROM SOUTH AFRICA: NEW WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHS AND ART (TriQuarterly, then Univ. of Chicago Press); THOMAS McGRATH: LIFE AND THE POEM (Univ. of Illinois Press); NEW WRITING FROM MEXICO (TriQuarterly Books); and [William] GOYEN: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAYS, NOTEBOOKS, EVOCATIONS, AND INTERVIEWS (Univ. of Texas Press). Gibbons was the editor of TRIQUARTERLY magazine 1981-1997. He has taught writing and literature for decades at Northwestern University, where he is a Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities. Gibbons taught for twenty years in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is currently at work on new poems and a new novel.
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