This episode of A Poetry Congeries is dedicated to the memory of Jack Gilbert, a poet who—because he chose to live outside of pobiz—was never given the acclaim many of his contemporaries have enjoyed. He deserved to have it, though, and so many younger poets have managed to come to his work and be influenced by it anyway. He gave poetry readings only infrequently, but I was able to hear him read with Maxine Kumin, Gary Snyder and Irving Feldman in March of 2006 at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium. He was already frail, and Alzheimer’s disease had already begun to affect his performance, but there was a feeling in me that night of being inside of poetry in a way that I have only experienced a handful of times. I’m lucky to have had my copy of the wonderful The Great Fires signed that night, and I'll spend part of my Thanksgiving break rereading it, grateful that poets like Jack Gilbert have shown us the way.
His obituary from The New York Times.
An Interview with Jack Gilbert by Chard deNiord.
A piece from The New Yorker on Jack Gilbert by Alice Quinn.
Jack Gilbert’s Poetry Foundation page.
From NPR’s All Things Considered, Debbie Elliott on Jack Gilbert with Jack reading some of his poems.