Jack Gilbert

(1925 - / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Jack Gilbert Poems

1. Going Wrong 8/18/2015
2. South 5/4/2012
3. Poetry Is A Kind Of Lying 4/15/2015
4. Summer At Blue Creek, North Carolina 5/4/2012
5. The Mistake 5/4/2012
6. Going There 5/4/2012
7. Horses At Midnight Without A Moon 5/4/2012
8. Failing And Flying 5/4/2012
9. A Brief For The Defense 5/4/2012
10. Recovering Amid The Farms 1/13/2003
11. In Dispraise Of Poetry 1/13/2003
12. Searching For Pittsburgh 1/13/2003
13. In Umbria 1/1/2004
14. Portrait Number Five: Against A New York Summer 1/1/2004
15. Divorce 1/13/2003
16. Tear It Down 1/13/2003
17. The Abnormal Is Not Courage 1/13/2003
18. The Great Fires 1/13/2003
19. The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart 1/13/2003
20. Rain 1/13/2003

Comments about Jack Gilbert

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  • Sonia (7/4/2018 10:56:00 AM)

    Want to know if he wrote the following poem: When you live every hour by the grace of His power and you know He will guide you aright, then day in and day out faith is stronger than doubt, and faith puts your worries to flight.

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  • Dorothy Wilson (12/16/2017 1:34:00 PM)

    I love this poem. It's the first one of his that I have read. It shocks the heart and destroys judgment- that's how it affected me anyway. Thanks for posting it.

    3 person liked.
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  • Ronald Jorgensen (5/31/2013 3:22:00 PM)

    Entering the website through the search phrase on Google of all poems of Jack Gilbert, and finding that tag on the site, clicking on it is not fruitful. I wanted to see his poem, Guilty, and got nothing in the search for it. Do you not, in fact, have all of his poems as the tag promises? I am disappointed, for Guilty is one of his great creations (in my opinion, of course) , and stands as a creative originality even in the context of his already creative originality generally.

    After writing this comment, I found I was able to locate the poem elsewhere and have copied and pasted it below for your consideration. I'd, of course, be interested in reactions.

    The man certainly looked guilty.
    Ugly, ragged, and not clean. Not to mention
    their finding him there in the woods
    with her body. Neighbors told how he was
    always playing with dead squirrels,
    mangled dogs, even snakes. He said
    those were the only things that would
    allow him to get close. Look at me,
    the old man said with uncomplaining
    simplicity, I'm already one of the dead
    among the dead. It's hard to watch things
    humiliated the way death does it.
    Possums smeared on the road, birds with ants
    eating out their eyes. Even dying rats
    want privacy for their disgrace.
    It's true I washed the dirt from her face
    and the blood off the body. Combed her hair.
    I slept beside her, at her feet for two days,
    the way my dog used to. I got the dress
    on the best I could. She looked so neglected.
    Like garbage thrown in the weeds.
    Like nobody cared because he had done that
    to her. I kept thinking about how long
    she is going to be alone now. I knew
    the police would take pictures and put them
    in the papers naked and open so people
    eating breakfast could look at her. I wanted
    to give her spirit enough time to get ready.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share this,


    11 person liked.
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Best Poem of Jack Gilbert

Tear It Down

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls ...

Read the full of Tear It Down

In Umbria

Once upon a time I was sitting outside the cafe
watching twilight in Umbria when a girl came
out of the bakery with the bread her mother wanted.
She did not know what to do. Already bewildered
by being thirteen and just that summer a woman,
she now had to walk past the American.
But she did fine. Went by and around the corner
with style, not noticing me. Almost perfect.
At the last instant could not resist darting a look