An exhilarating new collection by the poet often acclaimed as the modern Walt Whitman, his "spiritual reincarnation.""This healthy collection of new poems and selections from seven previous volumes is remarkable for its generosity of spirit, manifested in a warm surrealism that is often turned with humor toward his own past as a way of understanding the recurrent questions of growing old: 'Why did it take so long / for me to get lenient? What does it mean one life / only?' " — Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Gerald Stern's achievement is immense. In this beautiful gathering . . . one encounters a poet who praises and mourns in turn and even at once." — Grace Schulman, The Nation "Stern is one of those rare poetic souls who makes it almost impossible to remember what our world was like before his poetry came to exalt it." — C. K. Williams
Stern was 48 years old when his first collection, Rejoicings, appeared in 1973. A quarter century later, he has selected his finest work for This Time. Immediately one notices a consistency of style and concern. Indeed, one of his earliest poems, "When I Have Reached the Point of Suffocation," foreshadows his major themes of desolation and survival:
It takes years to learn how to look at the destructionIn his most moving poems, Stern witnesses this destruction of beauty and learns or resolves or forgets to take it on the chin. Many embody glimpses of delight made all the more poignant by their brief duration, the "one minute / to study the drops of silver hanging in the sun / before you turn the corner past the gatehouse." And though they focus intensely on their literal subjects, their scope expands to encompass what has been lost in this century--not just people and places, but an attainable sense of peace and solitude. --Edward Skoog
of beautiful things;
to learn how to leave the place
and how to make your own regeneration
out of nothing.