Evening Street Press strives to publish words with positive impact

For some years my work has been trying to express the possibility in individual lives of a new way of looking at the world–well, relatively new, about a century or two old–given especially in Cady Stanton’s 1848 revision of the U.S. Declaration of Independence: “All men and women are created equal” and by her friend Matilda Gage in 1893:

During the ages, no rebellion has been of like importance with that of Women against the tyranny of
Church and State; none has had its far-reaching effects. We note its beginning; its progress will
overthrow every existing form of these institutions; its end will be a regenerated wor1d.

I don’t believe in this historical hope–on1y in the possibility of freer, deeper life for individuals. It’s likely that the Industrial Revolution and our cleverness will end the lives of all of us on this planet in a few centuries. My poems tend to be narratives, telling stories about myself and others–with a steady effort toward clarity and depth. Technique is simple–free verse with some attention to rhythms and the sounds of words. I write first drafts on yellow pads, regular size not 1egal, revise, type a draft, revise etc. up to a computer version. I believe we’re more or less drowning in affected peculiarity, which is why almost no one reads us except the tiny audience of other poets and that “No affectation of peculiarity can conceal a commonplace mind.” I admire most of Jeffers, Rexroth (who despised each other), Williams, early Eliot (a11 after declaring himself Royalist etc. is imitation of his mother), Cavafy, Plath, half maybe of Lowell. Enough of that.

People still debate endlessly how it was possible for Rimbaud to give up poetry completely at 20. I think he had the wrong method. He found that his effort to become a seer, a visionary, and transform reality through the derangement of the senses had failed. It didn’t change him or reality. So he took off for Ethiopia, traded in coffee, had his native-boy lover, traded in guns, and killed himself making money.

Dawn Night Fall
by Gordon Grigsby

Cover: “Columbus, OH,” courtesy of Barth Falkenberg

In lines that are taut, lean and lucid, Gordon Grigsby’s poems embody the substrate and the epic story of the world from which we came and in which we now struggle to survive. This is a necessary, indeed an essential book for our time. —Ernest Lockridge’s most recent book: Skeleton Key to the Suicide of My Father Ross Lockridge, Jr, author of Raintree County

In poem after piercing poem—“The Light Here,” “An Ocean Sound,” “Nancy’s Sandwich Shop Heightened Consciousness”—Grigsby weaves our intense human moments of love, sorrow, or joy into the beauty and grandeur of our indifferent earth. The art of his vision is unique and invaluable. —Julian Markels, author of The Marxian Imagination

Like James Wright before him, Gordon Grigsby is an essential Mid-Western poet, a hard-scrabbled farmer of words, a steel-worker tending to the furnaces of an imagination that flares in darkness: “the praised madness that trembles the air.” The geography of Ohio, the names of its vanished Indian tribes, the smell of a dead child and the poisoned rain, are here given their full measure of terrible beauty. —Michael Salcman, author of The Clock Made of Confetti and The Enemy of Good Is Better

Dawn Night Fall explores the interplay between sorrow and hope, tragic realities and the mind’s freedom, through startlingly original images and ideas. As in Walden, Grigsby uses his house on a small river in Mt. Air, Ohio as a way into the natural world, ancient and personal history, world travels, and complex combinations of pain and luminosity: ashes of a premature baby, woman and children waiting in corrugated tin shanties, a loved father lonely in Sun City, the glow of needles on a forest floor, streetlamp glint on everyone’s hair. Readers are richly rewarded for his extraordinary vision. —Jan Schmittauer, Associate Professor, Ohio University

These are wise, beautiful poems of love and loss, an elegiac celebration of our brief moments in human history and the natural world. No leaf, no strand of seaweed is too small to escape Grigsby’s tender attention, as he recalls places and people who spring brilliantly to life through his words. —Donna Spector, author of The Woman Who Married Herself

Gordon Grigsby’s poems are wonderfully attuned to his world, his time—to our world, our time. His work powerfully evokes how he and we experience “double living,” always “stepping twice in the same river.” The history he thus calls up is ancient, recent, and contemporary. And it is universal (through the particular, as in “Hotel on the Cliff at Delphi, November 2002”), cultural (as in “The Hurricane, Robin Hood, and the Bounty,” where we get an ode to Jon Hall, Errol Flynn, and Clark Gable), and intensely personal (as in the past life and relationships brought out in poems like “The Vanished Motel”). Dawn Night Fall is a deeply moving collection. —Morris Beja, author of James Joyce: A Literary Life and Tell Us About . . . A Memoir.


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