World over Water


Poems by Robert Gibb
978-1-55728-836-3 (paper)
March 2007


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In 1999 Robert Gibb published The Origins of Evening, selected by Eavan Boland for W. W. Norton as that year’s National Poetry Series selection. Nearly five years later he published The Burning World with the University of Arkansas Press, and Stanley Plumley described the “evolving, working lyric narrative [that was] underway.” Indeed, in Gibb’s new collection, World over Water, this evolving, lyric narrative finds its conclusion in the third volume of his Pittsburgh trilogy.

The new collection continues to explore the lost industrial world—a world of steel mills, fire-strewn rivers, and working-class lives, in which place and family stand as metaphors for each other. The poems reach back to the late nineteenth century in a mixture of elegy and chronicle, genealogy and history, reclaiming the past and its witnesses.

World over Water is not a remembrance of what was but an act of imagination that wills the past alive in all its savage beauty.

Robert Gibb was born and lives in the steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, where many of his poems are set. Among his many awards are the Camden Poetry Award and a Pushcart Prize.

“The strength of American writing today is in such good work.”
—Guy Davenport, author of The Geography of the Imagination

“In the grave, elegiac, and exquisitely accomplished poems of his new collection, Gibb teaches us anew how, as one of his poems has it, ‘seeing [is] a way of inhabiting time.’ . . . [Here are] deeply felt, formally masterful, and strikingly various poems. It is gratifying to encounter a poet who possesses such a resonant combination of intelligence and feeling.”
—David Wojahn, author of Interrogation Place: New and Selected Poems, 1982–2004