Award-winning poet and book designer Jonathan Greene delivers his 40th title in a career spanning seven decades.
One poem in Jonathan Greene’s new collection GOING THROUGH IT recounts how he and his wife are apt to break into spontaneous dancing whenever one of “their songs” comes on the PA system in a public place, and despite appearing “Ridiculous” (the poem’s title) to the young, after nearly 50 years together they are “deeper in love / than ever // so of course we never / act our age.” This book arrives on the occasion of the poet’s 80th birthday, and we can be grateful that he has never acted his age, or any one age. His verse is often inspired in subject and form by ancient oriental poetry, and his substantial body of work spanning seven decades and forty titles is informed by his deep knowledge of his poetic predecessors and contemporaries. But it is always uniquely his voice, and his vision. He is a keen observer, whether of nature on his Kentucky farm, or the fraught state of global affairs, and he records all in language precisely suited to his purposes, often wry and sly. Greene is not unlike “The thin blue / threadbare / work shirt” he has worn through countless years of mowing, that others might demote “to a rag without / a second’s thought” – but he’s “Not Letting Go.” Not of the shirt, and not of his vocation as a quintessential poet for our time. “Every morning’s dew / cleanses the world—” he writes, and “We too / need to start anew.” That’s a good way to act at 80, or at any age.
“The difference between a chronometer and a clock is the difference between these poems and those of so many others. It’s a matter of accuracy and precision. Each of Greene’s poems has a perfectly designed movement and is designed to run years on pure light.” —Ted Kooser, former U. S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Jonathan Greene was born in New York City. He graduated from Bard College in 1965. After living in San Francisco twice, Greene moved to Kentucky in 1966 where members of his family had been living since 1846. He founded Gnomon Press in 1965, and is a free-lance book designer. Since 1977, he has lived on a Kentucky River farm with his wife, fiber artist and photographer Dobree Adams. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Federation of State Arts Agencies, and the Kentucky Arts Council. He is the author of EBB & FLOW (Broadstone Books, 2021), GISTS, ORTS, SHARDS (Broadstone Books, 2018), ANECDOTAGE (Broadstone Books, 2015), SMALL CHANGE FOR THE LONG HAUL (Station Hill Press, 1984), and ONCE A KINGDOM AGAIN. (Sand Dollar, 1978).
Author City: FRANKFORT, KY USA