I am an absolute unabashed Jack Gilbert fangirl. He is one of my favorite poets of all time, and I’ve read and discussed his poems multiple times during my undergrad career. My love for Gilbert was so well known that at the induction ceremony to the Lit Honor Society, the final lines of Gilbert’s “The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart” was assigned to me (every inductee is given several lines of poetry or literature that are chosen by a professor that best represents them). I cried when I had to read the lines aloud.
As a graduation gift to myself, I bought Jack Gilbert’s Collected Poems. And almost two years later, I finally finished reading it. Prior to this, I had only read The Great Fires, which I think it’s Gilbert’s strongest collection and probably the best way to get into his poetry.
As a fan of Gilbert, I enjoyed seeing the entire scope of his career. But I think it would be a boring, endless read for someone who’s not already a fan of Gilbert and familiar with his poetry. This is definitely for someone who doesn’t mind reading some less than amazing poems–a similar endeavor to listening to a band’s demos (you have to really like them to be into hearing their unpolished performances).
If you’re interested in reading his poems (I highly recommend as his poems about love and grief are stunning), I will link several below.
Title(s): Collected Poems
Author(s): Jack Gilbert
Overall rating: 5/5
Format Accessed: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Random House