'Early Collected Poems 1965-1992'

Stern's collection is a much-needed reminder of the incredible power of poetry and of the great heritage of poetry we have here in our region.

As he says in the documentary film about his life, Gerald Stern: Still Burning, “If you want to understand a culture, you go to their poets. You certainly don’t go to their presidents. Or the public relations people. Or their generals or their business men. Or, alas, not even their farmers. You go to their poets.” A bold statement from Pittsburgh’s own Gerald Stern, one of the finest poets in the world.

The publication of Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992 is a gift to us all. To have so much of Stern’s work collected together in one place—some of it long out of print—is cause for celebration.

Stern is a poet very much in the Whitmanic tradition of the long line and blue-collar concerns. Much like his good friend Jack Gilbert, Pittsburgh’s other truly great poet, Stern places our city in both personal and global contexts.

Early Collected Poems is a much-needed reminder of the incredible power of poetry and of the great heritage of poetry we have here in our region. This one should be on everyone’s gift list this year.

Here’s hoping we all have a very happy and safe holiday season.


Early Collected Poems:, 1965-1992 by Gerald Stern; W.W. Norton & Co.; $35.