cover image Renditions


Reginald Gibbons. Four Way, , $16.95 ISBN 978-1-945588-73-0

Gibbons (Last Lake) honors a poetic heritage spanning cultures and centuries in his thoughtful 11th collection. Throughout, he invokes the work of other poets, including Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Bertolt Brecht, and Marina Tsvetaeva as homage to the power of language to reinvent itself. Each poem is a “rendition” of another poet’s work, which allows Gibbons to celebrate the relationship between translation, creation, and artistic appropriation. His riffs on ancient writings reveal surprising echoes to the contemporary world, as in his take on eighth-century Chinese poet Wang Wei’s sense of urban isolation and angst in “On Argyle Street”: “Smoky, cold, broken late-afternoon clouds/ mob eastward. Roaming west, I see on side-/ walks no one I know, no one who knows me.” Memory becomes a way for Gibbons to give thanks to those poets who preceded him and made his own path as a poet possible, as he alludes in a rendition of Nelly Sachs: “A crack zigzagged open in Time// In peeked Memory.” This book is full of deep respect for poets and the languages and cultures from which it borrows, emphasizing the shared connections in poetic tradition, even as it reimagines that tradition. (Feb.)