On the clevelandpoetics listserv, George Bilgere posted a comment about tonight's reading with poet Gary Gildner at JCU, and he talked him up pretty big, even mentioning that Gildner's poem "First Practice" is in about 100 anthologies. I was deeply embarrassed to admit to myself that I had not heard of the poet or the poem. Maybe I shouldn't have let my last subscription to American Poetry Review run out; and maybe I should get a little more current on the well-known poets of today, rather that let d.a. levy control my reading habits; and maybe I should buy a few more anthologies, hell, there's about a gazillion of them each year. I don't know. But in any case, I did a bit of digging and Gildner's pedigree is undeniable. He was born in West Branch, Mich., and received his B.A. and M.A. in English at Michigan State in 1960 and 1961 respectively. He is an award-winning writer whose work is known throughout the world. He is best known for his eight books of poetry, including Letters from Vicksburg (1977), Blue Like the Heavens (1984), Clackama: Poems (1991), and The Bunker in Parsley Fields (1997), which won the 1996 Iowa Poetry Prize. He has also written two novels, a collection of short stories, and a memoir, The Warsaw Sparks (1990), which he wrote while he was a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Warsaw and coach of the city's baseball team. His latest book, My Grandfather's Book is available from MSU Press. He has received the National Magazine Award for Fiction, a Pushcart Prize, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams and Theodore Roethke poetry prizes, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently Mr. Gildner lives with his family in Idaho. I checked out his poems online, and he really is very good. I want to make a suggestion to our readers, and to those who contribute to this blog. Let's start recommending some current poets. Tell us a bit about him or her, and post a poem for us to read. Ultimately, we will all be enriched by discovering the work of someone new.
He'll read at John Carroll today, Tuesday Sept. 30, at 7pm in Rodman Hall, room A. Ask the guard at the parking kiosk how to find the room if you haven't been there. The event is free.