cover image Everyday People

Everyday People

Albert Goldbarth. Graywolf, $18 trade paper (178p) ISBN 978-1-55597-603-3

Detractors call Goldbarth prolific to a fault, but admirers say, with great justice, that they just can’t get enough: the poet’s 20-odd books reflect an irrepressible energy. Who else could bring into the same poem medieval bestiaries, “an eyeleted shoe,/ a cello, a used syringe, a lush bouquet of backyard iris,” a serious pun that finds “pain” inside a “piano,” and “Ace Digornio, who... did/ spend forty hours every week behind the counter/ at Talman’s Home Decor and Paint Store”? Again Goldbarth (To Be Read in 500 Years) casts a wide net for obsolescent pop culture, middle America, archeology, Jewish history, and the natural sciences—the human brain is “a drama/ compounded of glial cells and electrical links.” Again Goldbarth directs his amazing collection of little-known facts toward the same simple truths: people fall in and out of love, grow old, die, and hope to be remembered, even as Goldbarth hopes to remember and cherish every odd quotation he incorporates from an “astute, high-style comic strip,” from Whitney Houston, from Charles Darwin, from his friends, all treated with a sympathetic and finally optimistic gusto, “large and excited and various and full of that/ exuberance we call everyday life.” (Jan.)