In Beau­ty Bright

  • Review
By – February 1, 2013

In his eigh­teenth col­lec­tion of poems, Ger­ald Stern – cov­et­ing mem­o­ries more than con­fronting mor­tal­i­ty – mus­es, one bright­ness was not enough.” Long a mas­ter of ecsta­t­ic poems, where one ebul­lient or hor­ri­ble image tum­bles deliri­ous­ly into the next, Stern shows no signs of tem­per­ance or aus­ter­i­ty in his old age. He is, in many ways, the polar oppo­site of his old friend and fel­low Pitts­burghi­an Jack Gilbert, the lat­ter cir­cum­spect with won­der while the for­mer is super­charged with it. While some of these poems struck me as a lit­tle too care­free (I’m all for exu­ber­ance, but some­times I want a poem to slow down), it is hard to begrudge an elder states­man this much con­tin­ued ener­gy and joy. Even as he opines, what I loved always got in the way” in the poem Bio III,” you thank God for all that has got­ten in his way and led to poems of such abun­dance and adoration.

Jason Myers is a writer whose work has appeared in AGNI, BOOK­FO­RUM, and Tin House.

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