Jack Gilbert was an American poet.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.'s neighborhood of East Liberty, he attended Peabody High School then worked as a door-to-door salesman, an exterminator, and a steelworker. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where he and his classmate Gerald Stern developed a serious interest in poetry and writing.
His work is distinguished by simple lyricism and straightforward clarity of tone. Though his first book of poetry (Views of Jeopardy, 1962) was quickly recognized and Gilbert himself made into something of a media darling, he retreated from his earlier activity in the San Francisco poetry ... more »
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Jack Gilbert Poems
Woke up suddenly thinking I heard crying. Rushed through the dark house. Stopped, remembering. Stood looking out at bright moonlight on concrete.
Suddenly this defeat. This rain. The blues gone gray And the browns gone gray
Tear It Down
We find out the heart only by dismantling what the heart knows. By redefining the morning, we find a morning that comes just after darkness. We can break through marriage into marriage.
The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart
How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say, God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
The Great Fires
Love is apart from all things. Desire and excitement are nothing beside it. It is not the body that finds love. What leads us there is the body.
The Abnormal Is Not Courage
The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers, A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace. And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
In Dispraise Of Poetry
When the King of Siam disliked a courtier, he gave him a beautiful white elephant. The miracle beast deserved such ritual that to care for him properly meant ruin.
Once upon a time I was sitting outside the cafe watching twilight in Umbria when a girl came out of the bakery with the bread her mother wanted. She did not know what to do. Already bewildered
Searching For Pittsburgh
The fox pushes softly, blindly through me at night, between the liver and the stomach. Comes to the heart and hesitates. Considers and then goes around it. Trying to escape the mildness of our violent world.
Recovering Amid The Farms
Every morning the sad girl brings her three sheep and two lambs laggardly to the top of the valley, past my stone hut and onto the mountain to graze. She turned twelve last year and it was legal
Portrait Number Five: Against A New York...
I'd walk her home after work buying roses and talking of Bechsteins. She was full of soul. Her small room was gorged with heat
A Brief For The Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Failing And Flying
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew. It's the same when love comes to an end, or the marriage fails and people say they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
Of course it was a disaster. The unbearable, dearest secret has always been a disaster. The danger when we try to leave.
Woke up suddenly thinking I heard crying.
Rushed through the dark house.
Stopped, remembering. Stood looking
out at bright moonlight on concrete.