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.