Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus.
Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces.
Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his
Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation
And invention, is this the image of the promised end?
All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever.
Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she abandoned
For love, O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah walla-woe.
—from "Gulf Music"
An improvised, even desperate music, yearning toward knowledge across a gulf, informs Robert Pinsky's first book of poetry since Jersey Rain (2000).
On the large scale of war or the personal scale of family history, in the movements of people and cultures across oceans or between eras, these poems discover connections between things seemingly disparate.
Gulf Music is perhaps the most ambitious, politically impassioned, and inventive book by this major American poet.