Published in the New Yorker, La Nouvelle Revue Française, and in nearly a hundred magazines and poetry journals from Los Angeles to Tokyo, from Lawrence, Kansas to Rome, Madrid, Paris, London, Beijing and Bucharest, poems by Barry Gifford have been describing and changing our world for nearly half a century. Here in one volume for the first time are the poet's own choices from his nine previous collections, as well as a rich selection of new poems. Altogether, Imagining Paradise represents the tremendous achievement of an underground poet who lasted.These poems describe a universe that is as populous and diverse as it is ephemeral. They are born of the world and of art in equal measure, and tell of the unyielding granite truths of people's roller-coaster lives. And always there is the poet looking back, facing life and death and everything in between with equanimity, holding a steady hand to the quivering breast wherever there is breath.
Introducing Three Cheers: a new feature on the Seven Stories Blog. In this feature, Seven Stories authors dish on three books that helped to mold them over the course of their careers. Check out Barry Gifford's choices below!
by Barry Gifford
Grande Sertao: Veredas (Translated into English as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Harriet de Onis). Certainly the greatest of all Portuguese language novels, a truly transformative novel; a unique, surprising narrative that rivals Don Quixote for creativity and meaning. Written by Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazilian professor and diplomat.
The Adventures & Misadventures of Maqroll the Gaviereo (Translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman) by Alvaro Mutis, a Colombian raised in Belgium and Colombia and Mexico, best friend of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who called Mutis the finer writer. Marquez was correct: Mutis’s Maqroll novellas are the finest kind of literary adventures. A vastly underrated if not mostly unknown (in the English-speaking and -reading world) master of prose and poetry.
The Collected Novels of Jean Rhys Another mostly undervalued (and misinterpreted) writer. Her novels After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie and Good Morning, Midnight (quote from Emily Dickinson, I believe) are especially good. She did not waste words: taught me how to be concise and direct without sacrificing intent and meaning. Hated being taken up in 1960s and ‘70s by feminists—resented is better word. Once a mistress of Ford Madox Ford’s, she picked up on what the big guns of the ‘20s and ‘30s had to say (Hemingway, Conrad, Pound, et al) and in my opinion outdid them all—except maybe Conrad.