A View from the Tenth DecadeAmerica’s foremost living poet sifts through life and the inevitability of the end
In Death Watch, the National Book Award-winning poet Gerald Stern uses powerful prose to sift through personal and prophetic history and contemplate his own mortality. Characteristically audacious, uncompromising, funny, and iconoclastic, Stern looks back at his life and forward in time to how his story will play out. Wrestling with ...
Stern recounts his life, itself a grand digression,” which takes him from Pittsburgh, to the Army, to Paris on the GI Bill, and back to the United States, where he immerses himself in the literary culture around him. Stern’s early and traumatic loss of his older sister provides the occasion to imagine what her life might have been, and he revels in his past love affairs, the many women beloved in his life. He recollects books that occupy his recent readingthe work of W.G. Sebald, Blaise Cendrars, and Louis-Ferdinand Célineand how memory is always at the heart of literary accomplishment and what creates the staying power of great literature.
Death Watch is as an account of a beloved poet's final journey; a vivid, passionate, and, at times, whimsical look at the gamble of living life to its fullest, choosing the life of a poet, philosopher, prophet, lover, radical, and perpetual troublemaker.
There is no warning as to where Jerry, as his many friends call him, will strike next as he roams about his long and productive life." — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Gerald Stern is one of those writers whose style insinuates itself into your consciousness like a catchy tune, so that you find your thoughts echoing its rhythms, bopping from one to another, back and forth, like thought and language doing a jitterbug." — Philadelphia Inquirer
"Stern is a romantic with a sense of humor...a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic visionary." — Edward Hirsch
"Ruthless and occasionally outrageous, Stern's literary songs are sharp, surprising, and unerring in their delivery." — Ploughshares
"For over two decades, no one has equaled Stern's compassionate, surreal parables about the burden of and the exaltation at being alive." — Library Journal“In 29 vignettes, essays and memories recorded over 212 pages, Stern writes of a life characterized by clarity of vision and tremendous chutzpah.” — San Antonio Express-News