Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Robert Gibb: After the Reading

White cups floating above the waters in their cut-glass vase,

The tulips have finally opened, while beside her—

Pittsburgh, winter—windows shimmer with freezing rain.


It’s the morning after the reading and the poet is taking pains

To convey how words appear on her laptop screen,

Having crossed light years to get there. Or so it can seem.


Last night, light from the podium cast shadows up the strata

Of her face, her voice drifting outward, as it does now,

Tinged as if with smoke. The students want to know why,


But the poet knows only that she is her own Penelope

And the poem a solitude in which things can take place.

There is, she says, only the veto. The tulips are spotless,


Centerpieced before her, and whiter than the tablecloth,

Their every leaf, scape and cup-shaped blossom trademarked.

The poem, she is saying, has terms of its own.


Copyright 2017 Robert Gibb.

Robert Gibb has won a number of awards for his poetry including the National Poetry Series, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and most recently, the Marshhawk Poetry Prize for After, chosen by Mark Doty.


Robert Gibb

3 comments on “Robert Gibb: After the Reading

  1. triciaknoll
    January 8, 2018

    The poet takes pains…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leo
    January 8, 2018

    The poem is the master or mistress; we, though we work hard and want to take credit, only the struggling translators….some, such as Mr. Gibb, far superior to the rest of us. I love that he is not afraid or ashamed of rhyme!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cristian Mihai
    January 8, 2018

    Beautiful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2018 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , .

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