Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975–1997

James Galvin

The complete works of an extraordinary poet who consistently refines the notion of what constitutes an American sound. Resurrection Update collects all of James Galvin’s work from four previous hard-to-find books, as well as a generous selection of new poems. Here, surrealist and elegiac currents contrast with the hard-bitten survivors in an eroding Western landscape. With a classical stoicism, modesty, and remarkable beauty in poems ranging from the rueful to the playful, Galvin continues to expand and refine what constitutes a purely American sound.

ISBN: 9781556591228

Format: Paperback

About the Author

James Galvin was raised in northern Colorado. He has published eight books of poems, most recently Everything We Always Know Was True (Copper Canyon, 2016). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed prose book The Meadow, and the novel Fencing the Sky. His honors include a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, a Lannan Literary Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has a home outside of Tie …

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“Galvin sets the transcendentalism of Thoreau to the music of the lonely, magnificent, and daunting expanses of the West, where scouring winds shred all pretense and frivolity, leaving only that which endures behind, and it is these stones, these bones, these burnished bits of hoarded wisdom that Galvin has been quietly celebrating over the course of two decades of writing… Galvin often writes in minor keys, melancholy and still, but this somberness is tempered by beauty, wonder and gratitude.” —Booklist

“James Galvin has a voice and a world, perhaps the two most difficult things to achieve in poetry.” —The Nation

“Every time I read Galvin’s ingenious, faceted, and radiant work, I have to wonder why more readers are not aware, not to say fervent, about his substantial body of poetry… My hope is that Resurrection Update will fall into the hands of a few worthy acolytes, who, by candlelight and long study, will learn and spread the gospel, Galvin style.” —Harvard Review

“A complete collection of new and out-of-print poems by a poet whose critically acclaimed work consistently refines our notion of what constitutes an ‘American’ sound.” —American Bookseller

“If it wasn’t before, it’s clear now that Galvin possesses one of the most distinct voices in contemporary American letters… Beginning with his first book, Imaginary Timber, Galvin has always been determined to avoid simple description of the oft-dramatized Western landscape. He internalizes first, broods, transmutes, and finds poems somewhere in the process… The West needs James Galvin: he gives it soul.” —Big Sky Journal

“This is Galvin’s world: gorgeous, merciless, and quintessentially ‘Western’ in that the lay of the landscape figures prominently… But through this landscape stares a ferociously metaphysical poet, attached, like Prometheus, like Blake, to the loved earth.” —Boston Review

“[Galvin’s] poetry recites the austere lyricism of the snowman, a poetry of bare essentials. Galvin’s work also conveys a profound sense of place; that is, Galvin vividly reveals the Western landscape that is both fact and fiction, both a bare, brutal force and a terrain that the imagination… temporarily shapes into accessible form… Like few contemporary poets, Galvin looks at absence, and he does not lament that which was there and is now gone; profoundly, he sings toward the absence that is and to that absence and presence which will be… Whether as an aspect of a poem on the actual terrain or just the backdrop to a poem on the loss of a father or friend, the landscape is palpable, written into the rhythm of his taut lines like hammer on nail, chisel on granite, spade breaking earth… Such an intense experience of an individual vision, an individual voice, is uncommon and makes this book invaluable for appreciating the range and integrity of a significant poet.” —Colorado Review

“Savage and witty and swift, improvisatory, demanding, colloquial, at once fatalistic and kicky—it takes just a few lines to remind us of the real thing.” —Tony Hoagland, Los Angeles Times

“The voices and subjects of this collection should appeal to as wide a range of readers as the prose in The Meadow, Galvin’s wonderful collection of stories about the land and people near his home in Tie Siding, Wyoming… Here Galvin uncovers the myth of the West: the myth of humans winning against nature, rather than working in concert… Colloquial and philosophical by turns, but always elegant and precise, James Galvin’s poetry catches us up.” —Jackson Hole News

“In Resurrection Update, Galvin’s spare and taciturn voice meditates upon the manners in which the West tries to reclaim itself, wrestling itself away from its human occupiers… Though Galvin’s poems are peopled only sparsely, they are fully populated with clear images of beauty, each revealing a pervasive, aphoristic wisdom, punctuated with lariat-throwing laconic wit.” —Big Sky Journal

“But to reflect on the conceptual and poetic brilliance in this volume is to realize that in James Galvin we have a superior poet. The publication of these collected poems is a significant event, and prize committees should take note.” —American Book Review

“[Galvin] is the rarest of poets, in whose work a remarkable accessibility and clarity co-exist with formal and metaphysical complexity.” —Off The Wall Newsletter

“By turns intense and witty, brooding and stark, these poems bring you face to face with the human condition as Emerson tried to describe it: man, facing nature, knowing death, yet alive now.” —Virginia Quarterly Review