Product Details

Jackleg Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.01 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

Reginald Gibbons has published eleven books of poems, including CREATURES OF A DAY (Finalist for National Book Award) and, most recently, RENDITIONS. His novel SWEETBITTER won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Center for Hellenic Studies. His prizes include the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library; Best Novel, Best Book of Poems; and Best Short Story from the Texas Institute of Letters, Chicagoan of the Year in Literature (Chicago Tribune), .and The Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. His poems have been translated into Spanish, Italian, and French. He has published two collections of very short fiction/cnf, FIVE PEARS OR PEACHES (Broken Moon Press) and AN ORCHARD IN THE STREET (BOA Editions). He has also published HOW POEMS THINK (Univ. of Chicago Press) and volumes of translation: SELECTED POEMS OF LUIS CERNUDA (Univ. of California Press, then Sheep Meadow); [Jorge] GUILLÉN ON GUILLÉN: THE POETRY AND THE POET (Princeton UP); Sophocles' SELECTED POEMS: ODES AND FRAGMENTS (Princeton UP), and (with co-translator Charles Segal) Sophocles, ANTIGONE and Euripides, BAKKHAI (both, Oxford Univ. Press). He co-translated with poet Stanislaw Baranczak a volume of selected poems, THE WEIGHT OF THE BODY (TriQuarterly Books), and has recently completed co-translating with Russian poet Ilya Kutik, a volume of selected poems of Boris Pasternak, another of selected poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, and a third of selected poems of Kutik himself (these three books have been submitted to publishers). As editor or co-editor, Gibbons has published THE POET'S WORK (Univ. of Chicago); THE WRITER IN OUR WORLD (TriQuarterly, reprinted by Atlantic Monthly Press); FROM SOUTH AFRICA: NEW WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHS AND ART (TriQuarterly, then Univ. of Chicago Press); THOMAS McGRATH: LIFE AND THE POEM (Univ. of Illinois Press); NEW WRITING FROM MEXICO (TriQuarterly Books); and [William] GOYEN: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAYS, NOTEBOOKS, EVOCATIONS, AND INTERVIEWS (Univ. of Texas Press). Gibbons was the editor of TRIQUARTERLY magazine 1981-1997. He has taught writing and literature for decades at Northwestern University, where he is a Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities. Gibbons taught for twenty years in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is currently at work on new poems and a new novel.


"I love this novel: it sings, it soars. Simultaneously deft and deep, it brings a lost world back to brilliant light." ―Andrea Barrett

"Surprising in every way... The novel's ending is as strong as its beginning-terrifying and beautiful, a true tour de force." ―Chicago Tribune

"This is an adventure story and a romance, but in Gibbons' hands, it's that and much more. Exquisitely rendered and deeply felt, this is as astute and absorbing as fiction gets." -Booklist

"Gibbons writes with a poet's graceful attention to language, limning and then blending lovely details of the East Texas landscape, its denizens, its woods, seasons and storms, with Reuben's half-remembered, bastardized versions of Choctaw myth and Martha's dreamy, at-arm's-length relationship to the white world she can't live in yet can't do without." -Book World, Washington Post

"A stately, lyrical meditation on turn-of-the-century Texas... As much a meditation on the American destruction of aboriginal civilization as it is a story about star-crossed romance." -Texas Observer

"A sweeping yet intimate first novel that tells the story of the Choctaw Indians through the troubled life of one Reuben S. Sweetbitter, half Choctaw, half white... An absorbing story." -Publishers Weekly

"The gripping story of illicit love... in prose not easily forgotten... [A] lovely and captivating novel." -The Nation

"Surprising in every way... The novel's ending is as strong as its beginning-terrifying and beautiful, a true tour de force." -Chicago Tribune

"A story of dreams, of memory, of a search for identity, or love and all the senseless obstacles it sometimes must face." -Dallas Morning News

"Timely in the subject of interracial love, this authentic, richly detailed novel plumps sacrifice, fear, and the loss of one's identity, bringing the anguish of the two young lovers to life. Highly recommended." -Library Journal

"A fictional world of great vividness and detail... Gibbons' prose can be... descriptive, evocative, even picaresque, but he does not forget how to tell a story in straightforward sentences." -Review of Contemporary Fiction

"What a wonderful novel this is! It combines an exciting story with real sympathy for its characters, whose intensity makes them heroic even as the world conspires against them. Reginald Gibbons knows how hatred and tenderness can exist side by side in any time or place, and he has given us a moving love story with deep social reverberations." -Rosellen Brown

"Reginald Gibbons brings a masterful poet's gifts to his debut as a novelist. Complex and challenging, Sweetbitter will reward readers on every page." -Charles Johnson