A new collection of poetry and fiction by New York Times-bestselling and award-winning poet, novelist, biographer, and historian Robert Morgan.
Readers of Robert Morgan’s literature—the poems, the short stories, the novels, the biographies and histories—will be richly rewarded with this collection. Evoking personal memory and regional and national history, which for half a century Morgan has poignantly and enduringly rendered in his books, the fourteen poems and three short stories of THE ORATORIO THAT WAS TIME will inform, delight, and haunt its audience. “Morgan,” notes Helena María Viramontes in the foreword, “is without comparison in writing about intergenerational history and geography, where we can uproot ourselves but never quite shake off the soil. These generous and intimate images and stories can only arise from a writer given over to the qualities of grace and gratitude, one who holds an equitable vision of the world. That and a profound belief in love.”
“No contemporary American poet can rival Robert Morgan’s range and depth of knowledge—nature, astronomy, literature, science, music, history, physics, philosophy—and few can match his range of poetic forms; however, his craft and knowledge ultimately center on the wonders of human existence, and thus are as deeply moving emotionally as they are stimulating aesthetically. In these fourteen poems Morgan again confirms why he is our country’s finest poet, especially in the collection’s title poem. In addition, THE ORATORIO THAT WAS TIME offers three excellent new short stories, including ‘Survey,’ in which an Englishman’s 1711 journey into southern Appalachia culminates in a haunting vision of what the land has been and what it will become.” —Ron Rash
“Robert Morgan’s writing is like a mind clawing back to consciousness in the early morning after deep sleep and finding the ordinary things left behind in darkness in a new freshness of elemental clarity that is at once startling, divine, and beautiful. Morgan’s language is itself startling, divine, and beautiful and is as elementally fresh as the waking miracle it gives lasting solidity to.” —Ishion Hutchinson
“At the heart of Robert Morgan’s latest and much anticipated collection THE ORATORIO THAT WAS TIME is reverence: in time, geographical setting, humming memories, and the shadows of consecrated narratives known as history. Sensually measured by objects of the past, by the regal sense of their shattering, both his stories and poems unspool between the marvelous and mundane, between the fantastic and fact, between memory and cross-generational history. Morgan is without comparison in writing about intergenerational history and geography, places where we can uproot ourselves but never quite shake off the soil.” —Helena Maria Viramontes
Robert Morgan is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently Terroir and Dark Energy. He has published twelve volumes of fiction, including Gap Creek, a selection of Oprah's Book Club and a New York Times bestseller. His sequel to Gap Creek, The Road from Gap Creek, received the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He is also the author of the nonfiction books Boone: A Biography and Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion.Morgan has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Arts Council and has been awarded the Academy Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, he has been inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Morgan was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina in 1944, and taught at Cornell University from 1971 to 2022.