A time now almost lost—America and Europe of the 1940s and 1950s—indelibly recalled in prose pieces by a celebrated poet.In a series of freewheeling rambles that combine autobiography and meditation, Gerald Stern explores significant and representative events in his life. He describes the dour Sundays of Calvinist Pittsburgh, punctuated by his parents' weekly battles. We have glimpses of him as a wilderness camp counselor, and later, having been declared 4-F, as a postwar draftee (a stint that includes jail). In the 1950s he savors the romance of Paris. Stern also tells of being shot in Newark—the bullet is still in his neck to prove it. Other scenes include being mistaken for Allen Ginsberg and encounters with Andy Warhol. And in the ineffably tender "The Ring," Stern recalls his mother's second engagement ring, "when they were a bit richer, if a bit broader and a bit more weary."