Cover image for The seasons
The seasons
Gilfillan, Merrill, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Adventures in Poetry : Distributed through Zephyr Press by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution and Small Press Distribution, [2002]

Physical Description:
123 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.I3447 S43 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"Gilfillan is a storyteller whose appeal is more mystical than realistic."-- ALA Booklist

Gilfillan's -observations, quotations, etymologies, and classical forms are constructed by equal parts scholar and aesthete. He is a master of Low Distance. Gilfillan watches and then watches again. His writing is workman-like in the sense of what words are like, and luminous in its experimental directions.

"If John Clare had toured the United States with Oscar Wilde, their notebooks, twisted together in a tornado and edited by Audubon and Escoffier, might have read like these poems: evocative, sophisticated, and as ever-in-the-present as memory must always be."--Tom Raworth

Merrill Gilfillan is the author of five books of poems and several books of prose essays.

Author Notes

Gilfillan is the author of ten books of poetry, and several books of nonfiction essays on the Western United States.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Several periods of the poet's life are chronicled in these wry and animated speech-driven poems set all over the United States. In his 11th collection, the award-winning poet and essayist Gillfillan (Satin Street; Magpie Rising: Sketches from the Great Plains) presents acute observations of urban and natural settings balanced by an impeccable ear and wit. Anchoring a set of 20 poems that vary in length from one to 50 pages, the long title poem is a sprawling assemblage of lyrics set in freeform travel diaries and flashbacks that document Gillfillan's late-20th-century naturalist's take on what Greil Marcus has called "the old, weird America": "...a lean Fugue/ for Five or Six contraltos/ built on the song/ of the Black-throated green./ `Astonishing'/ said the New York/ Thames. `Heart-wrenchingly/ beautiful,' raved the London Seine./ And that was/ Suitcase Simpson, chasing/ a train, shirttails flying/ down the track, late for the game." Gilfillan echoes second generation New York School list techniques in a pair of autobiographical poems which function essentially as warmth-driven catalogues of durationally variable single years: "Patchen died./ Chicken bouillon, bread and butter. No cash./ Berryman died. A ride down Market Street/ with a beautiful dancer/ from Escanaba, Michigan./ Cash. Lunch at the Sincere Caf." A declarative-based wide-ranging poet who discourse on Old Testament animal-naming methods in the midst of a sonic stomp, Gilfillan breathes new life into the disappearing trope of poet-as-tramp, ranging over the continent with assurance and exuberance. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

A Distant Bellp. 7
"All Is Well"p. 8
1958p. 9
A Grove on the Musselshellp. 15
Third Snow (Renga Manque)p. 20
For Emmanuel Blickenstaffp. 23
The Serpentp. 24
Satyr Near an Anthillp. 30
Subpoena for Johnnyp. 31
Five Landscapesp. 33
A Nap by the Kickapoop. 36
A Vesperp. 37
Systole Variationsp. 38
Dancing at the Dellsp. 40
Una Dozzinap. 43
The Man in the Moonp. 50
Rabbit Mountainp. 58
Bijou Hills?p. 60
1972p. 61
from Ten Carbonated Warblersp. 70
The Seasonsp. 73