Don Share is Senior Editor of Poetry magazine in Chicago. His books include Seneca in English (Penguin Classics), and most recently a new book of poems, Wishbone (Black Sparrow), and Bunting’s Persia (Flood Editions), a 2012 Guardian Book of the Year and Paris Review Editors’ Choice selection; he has also edited a critical edition of Bunting’s work for Faber and Faber. His translations of Miguel Hernández, collected in I Have Lots of Heart (Bloodaxe Books) were awarded the Times Literary Supplement / Society of Authors Translation Prize and Premio Valle Inclán, and will appear in a revised edition from New York Review of Books Classics.
“We fought America in ourselves,” Don Share writes, and Union suggests – in exquisitely lyrical gestures – the breadth and depth of our public and private, civil and uncivil wars. These quietly powerful poems range from the gritty intrigues of New York City to subsistence farms, where “the dogs are in charge”. Along the way, they witness the vestiges of place embodied in the “lazy-built, leaky drawl” of regional accents and the eloquence of artifacts that comprised an epoch – the Triptiks, Reader’s Digest Condensed, Castro Convertibles, and Olds 88 of post World War II American culture. But Union also sings the eternal concerns of love and time, death and longing. And “sing” is the right verb for Share’s passionate, richly realized work. Few poets manage such dexterous and fresh music. Few books are as lovely or profound. — Alice Fulton
Share is one of the more gifted craftsmen we have writing in America today – Erin Belieu, Boston Review
Our house was for sale,
which was a virtuous herb against melancholy.
When the idea first came to you,
your eyes danced like jam-jars of moonshine
thanks to self-love, that violent prayer.
It’s a sweet life, you said,
anyplace we never lived.
Magnolia blossoms dropped,
and when your mood burnished,
the river blushed dark and the Pyramid blinked pale.
Like a backward cousin I steadied
myself, and glanced around for sympathy
among the vacant cobblestones—
we kissed, and this deal, our last, was sealed.
We walked arm in arm through spent Confederate Park,
following the noisy jackdaw, the croaking gull,
and Jupiter’s eagle,
until we came upon two dead elms
pulled up, like us, by the roots.
The house finally sold, we left
certain things trapped in old attic trunks there
like the treasure of Egyptian kings
at home in their tomb-cities,
and let our half-burned vows warm the hungry air
along this Nile we call the Mississippi.
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