GWP is honored to publish a new collection of poems from Robert Pack, poet and teacher, entitled All One Breath, whose underlying theme is humankind’s kinship with the other inhabitants of the earth. The poems address the grim vision of how our irresponsible actions have endangered this fragile home planet but also they celebrate with their sheer exuberance and lyricism how the imagination can still save us with humor, insight, and tender regard for what endures. By turns elegiac and playful, sassy and humorous, the poems provide both the long visionary view of almost nine decades of being a witness in the world. This distinguished poet, has never been more compelling, more comfortably authoritative in his poetic line, more precise as an observer, or indeed more wise.
“For all of us who have had the pleasure and privilege of a lifetime of Robert Pack’s impressive body of work, here is one more chance to hear from him the good–even when grim–news of a world he celebrates and mourns. The poems address the grim vision of how our irresponsible actions have endangered this fragile home planet but also they celebrate with their sheer exuberance and lyricism how the imagination can still save us with humor, insight, and tender regard for what endures. By turns elegiac and playful, sassy and humorous, the poems provide both the long visionary view of almost nine decades of being a witness in the world, but also an attentive focused gaze—a form of love—that does not miss a detail: a line of golden tamaracks, a beaver’s hutch, sandhill cranes forming a triangle in the sky. The collection ends gloriously with “Perfect Rainbow,” a perfect-pitch poem that seals Robert Pack’s covenant with his readers that he will keep producing, like Darwin’s description of the evolutionary process, “forms beautiful and wonderful,” as long as he draws one more breath.”
—Julia Alvarez, author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, as well as Homecoming, The Other Side, The Woman I Kept to Myself
“Robert Pack has had a long and distinguished career as a poet and critic. live always admired his clear-eyed intelligence and lyrical gifts. But I was quite unprepared for the wild freedom of thought and feeling that inhabit the poems in his latest collection. All One Breath is a beautiful and moving collection of poems that revisit many themes from this productive poet’s early work—the self at large in the natural world, nature itself, the importance of love and family—but there is an urgency and equilibrium here that is stunning. Pack has imagined a late style for himself that seems frictionless, free, and sublime. I read these poems with a mounting sense of delight and hope this book finds the wide audience it deserves.”
—Jay Parini, author of New and Collected Poems, 1975-2015
“This distinguished poet, Robert Pack, has never been more compelling, more comfortably authoritative in his poetic line, more precise as an observer, or indeed more wise. The title, taken from Ecclesiastes, speaks to the common mortality of men and beasts: ‘as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they all have one breath’. And no argument there, but for Pack in the title poem of the volume neither can that swoon be the end of the matter. How to go about ‘accepting what is unacceptable’? Those beasts of Ecclesiastes, large and small and winged and finned, become Pack’s normative edifying subjects, at hand particularly in the neighborhood of his Montana home. They have a tale to tell by way of Pack’s observation of the absolute of their mere, startling, non-reflective being. The vision is precise and grasping, and loving and, in the exact sense of the word, empathic: The thousands of snow geese gliding on the shore of Freezeout Lake, ‘each gliding in its self-appointed place’ and then the ‘sudden surge of black-tipped wings’ ascending; a doe at the river’s edge; ducks on the river with the diminishing of their oboe-like refrains. ‘One dieth,’ but the presiding tone of these poems is sweet and pleasureful, with pleasure taken in those brief revelations. The volume ends with what suddenly seems to be an inevitable fantasy, with the poet and his wife opening the door to their home and welcoming all the beasts and the birds just back after the flood and debarked from the Ark.”
—Marcus Klein, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Buffalo, Barnard
About the Author
Robert Pack (born May 19, 1929, in New York City) is an American poet and critic. For thirty-four years he taught at Middlebury College and from 1973 to 1995 served as director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and criticism, including To Love That Well: New and Selected Poems, 1954–2013 (Lost Horse Press, 2013), Laughter Before Sleep (University of Chicago Press, 2011), and Still Here, Still Now (University of Chicago Press, 2009). He was the Abernethy Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Emeritus at Middlebury College and currently lives in Montana where he serves as Distinguished Senior Professor in the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana – Missoula.
All One Breath
Poems by Robert Pack
5.5 x 8.5; 102 pages; $15.95
Pub Date: December 4, 2018
Available wherever books are sold.
Bookstores can order via Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or directly from Midpoint Trade Books.
Contact the publisher at email@example.com or 802-380-1121
to request a review copy as print or PDF.