Among Ruins

University of Notre Dame Pess
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Among Ruins is the final volume of Homestead Works, a collection of four books of poetry that explore the industrial past and legacy of the old steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, and, by extension, Pittsburgh. National Poetry Series–winner Robert Gibb's haunting historical narratives capture the Steel City, "Where the crucible mills poured fire, / Slag erupted nightly above the other shore." The ruins in this book are various—personal, historical, cultural—and are filtered through a variety of perspectives, including the poet's own as well as those of visual artists (Aaron Harry Gorson and Lewis Hine) who have made Pittsburgh their subject and artists (James Whistler, Eugène Atget, J. M. W. Turner) who have been imagined here.

The town of Homestead exists as a kind of Memory Theater in which what has been lost takes place either directly or in the ghosts of pentimento: "I look down a block / Of Homestead," as one poem has it, "from which Homestead is gone." Situating itself in the immediate aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, Among Ruins also concerns itself with labor history, life in the shadows of the now-phantom steel mills, and economic recovery that has gone missing as well. Readers will be captivated by Gibb's plaintive, spare poems and memories of this beloved city: “'Pittsburgh meant everything to me / and it still does.'”

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About the author

Robert Gibb was born in the steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, including The Origins of Evening, which was a National Poetry Series winner. He has received numerous awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts grants, seven Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants, a Best American Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and The Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize, among others. He lives on New Homestead Hill above the Monongahela River.

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Additional Information

University of Notre Dame Pess
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Published on
Sep 30, 2017
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Literary Criticism / Poetry
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Places
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