"Views of Jeopardy" by Jack Gilbert

Views of Jeopardy Jack Gilbert, Dudley Fitts

Yale Series of Younger Poets
Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
Yale University Press
64 pages: 210 x 140mm

In an essay on his own work in New American Poets of the Golden Gate, Jack Gilbert writes that “I am by nature drawn to exigence, compression, selection…one of the special pleasures in poetry for me is accomplishing a lot with the least means possible.” Gilbert’s poetry is distinguished by sparse lyricism, forthright clarity of tone, and controlled emotion regarding everyday life and relationships. In his foreword to Views of Jeopardy, Fitts identifies the origins of this approach, calling Gilbert’s “abrupt hard mode of expression” the result of preoccupation with "alienation from one's kind, the painful throwing back of the artist upon himself, the compulsive elaboration of the details of a personal myth.”

Jack Gilbert (1925–2012) was the former writer-in-residence at both Smith College and the University of Tennessee. His other works include The Dance Most of All, Refusing, and Monolithos. His final collection, Collected Poems, was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.