We were in Chicago for a concert; actually, the concert was in the northern suburb of Evanston, home of Northwestern University, and our hotel was in nearby Skokie. Across the interstate from the hotel was a rather large shopping center, which had a Barnes & Noble bookstore, which necessitated a visit. Or two.
We browsed the bookstore one chilly autumn afternoon, when the store was nearly empty. The literature and poetry sections were on the lower, basement level. I remember seeing a table loaded with a sale of Winston Graham’s Poldark books, the television series then all the rage on PBS. The poetry section was rather large, larger than what I was used to seeing at a Barnes & Noble. I browsed and browsed, gradually finding a stack of books in my arms.
One of those books was Refusing Heaven by Jack Gilbert (1925-2012). It had been published in 2005, more than a decade before, and the copy in my hands was a third printing edition that looked brand new (imagine three editions of a poetry collection in the same year). I had a copy of his Collected Poems (2014) at home, which included the poems of Refusing Heaven. I didn’t need to buy the copy in front of me. I was intrigued by its just-off-the-press condition – the book didn’t have a bit of wear on it.
To continue reading please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.