About Reginald Gibbons



“Dead Man’s Things” from An Orchard in the Street selected for Best Small Fictions 2018.

Kirkus on An Orchard in the Street:

“There is never a moment in these pieces which breaks the reader’s total immersion in Gibbons’ characters or those characters’ equal immersion in the singular moments of their lives. Here is truth so close to beauty and beauty so close to truth as to make no difference which came first.”

Published October 2017: AN ORCHARD IN THE STREET (short fiction, BOA Editions, Ltd.)


Published October 2016: LAST LAKE (poems, U. of Chicago Press)


author page: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/author/G/R/au5844545.html


Published September 2015: HOW POEMS THINK (U. of Chicago Press)


“Insightful. . . .  [Gibbons] is brilliant on the role of allusion and etymology in poetry; his observations on metrics are lively rather than scholastic; and his choices of examples are brilliant. This volume will enrich the experience of poetry for readers and writers of the art. . . . Highly recommended.”     —Choice

“This is a writers’ book—a must for poets. Poet-critics get at the meaning behind literary forms, and Reginald Gibbons does just that. He analyzes leaps of thought urged by rhymes, metaphors, and lexical choices. Chapters on the translation of Russian and of ancient Greek poetry are dazzling. This enormously readable book is part memoir, part report, part essay—and always conjectural, reaching forward.”    —Robert von Hallberg

“From ancient times to the present, poetry has created gods, and gods in turn have sustained poetry. Ranging from Homer, Pindar, and Sappho through French Symbolism and modern Russian to American poetry of our day, Gibbons has composed a hymn of praise to the spell-casting powers of patterned language. This erudite study mingles mysticism, philology, psychoanalysis, and mischief: it should provoke the liveliest arguments around.”   —Rosanna Warren

“Demands attention to technique across the ages and, crucially, across languages.”   —The Nation

“Rich, conversational and enjoyable. . . . An insightful, sometimes moving reflection on poetry’s potential capacities.”   —Times Literary Supplement

“A reflective and sophisticated account. . . . [Gibbons’s] comparative approach . . . is highly astute to the different resources and the different resistances offered by different languages.”  —Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

“I’m fascinated by [Gibbons’s] discussion of the metaphysics of languages and the ways in which English, with its massive and particularizing vocabulary, enables different modes of thinking and feeling than, say, the Platonic idealism expressed by French. . . . Gibbons’s book is a bright star in the firmament of my current reading.”   Joshua Corey, Poetry Magazine

“There are so many things to admire in this book: its sound analyses, its wisdom about art’s relation to the psyche, its pioneering work in making other poetic traditions comprehensible to us. But above all else, it is timely. Contemporary ‘accessible’ poetry is impoverished by its ignorance of the dimensions Gibbons explores. Contemporary experimental poetry is aware of them, but, shaped by postmodernist theory, it ignores their roots in the emotions and the unconscious. Poets of whatever school, as well as all who are interested in poetics, will find their horizons expanded by reading this book.”  Alan Williamson, Modern Philology

“Poking into cobwebby corners, weaving narrative into discourse, using assemblage, How Poems Think is a trove. I read it with a pencil — until I saw that underlining everything was the same as underlining nothing.”  Beverley Bie Brahic, Poetry Magazine

“There are important considerations of rhyme in Russian poetry, discussions of classical Greek poetry, and there are brilliant moments of incisive commentary.”  PN Review

Work in progress: Poems of Boris Pasternak: The Phonetic Eye, translated and introduced by Ilya Kutik and Reginald Gibbons.

Reginald Gibbons, Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University, is a poet, fiction writer, translator, literary critic, artist, and Professor of English, Classics, and Spanish and Portuguese.  His books include Creatures of a Day (LSU Press; Finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in poetry) and Slow Trains Overhead: Chicago Poems and Stories (2010, University of Chicago Press).  Three bilingual selections of his poems have been published: in  Spanish and English, Desde una barca de papel (translated by Manuel Ulacia, Victor Manuel Mendiola, Jennifer Clement, and Jordi Doce, and edited by Jorde Doce, 2010, Littera Libros [Spain]); in Italian and English, L’Abitino Blu (translated by Piera Mattei, 2012, gattomerlino/superstripes); and in French and English, Je Pas Je (translated by Nathanael, 2014, e-book, recoursaupoeme.com).


9780807133187.jpg   Book CoverGibbons-Segal-BAKKHAI





Gibbons has translated Selected Poems of Luis Cernuda (California, 1977; reprint Sheep Meadow Press, 1999); Guillen on Guilen: The Poetry and the Poet (with A. L. Geist; Princeton, 1979); Euripides’ Bakkhai (Oxford Univ. Press, 2001) and Sophocles’ Antigone (Oxford, 2003), both of the latter with Charles Segal, and Sophocles, Selected Poems: Odes and  Fragments (Princeton, 2008); he has edited The Poet’s Work, (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1989), Goyen: Autobiographical Essays, Notebooks, Evocations, Interviews (Univ. of Texas Press, 2007), and a number of other books.  Honors include Guggenheim and NEA fellowships in poetry, the Anisfield Wolf Book Award, the Carl Sandburg Prize, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, and inclusion in Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies.

MORE at: http://www.english.northwestern.edu/people/gibbons.html

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