Winner of the National Poetry Series Award for 1985, this is the third book of poems by Gibbons, the editor of Triquarterly magazine. His poems deal mostly with characterssome caught in moments of tenderness, as in the prose poem “Five Peaches or Pears,” others in the midst of a consuming violence, as in “The Blue Dress.” Whatever their circumstances, Gibbons renders his characters sympathetic by revealing the common denominator of humanity that the best and the worst of them share. Although the poem “Witness” fails in its attempt to make dialect ring true, the title series is finely rendered, discovering sainthood in the most unlikely places. Grace Bauer, formerly with New Orleans P.L.

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Selected by

Roland Flint