Light While There Is Light: An American History (Paperback)

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By Keith Waldrop, Jaimy Gordon (Introduction by)
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Staff Reviews

This autobiographical novel is held together by a family's complicated love and the ghosts that haunt them. Although the stories that Waldrop tells plague and bin many American families, this story is distinctly his, and is told with compassion and authenticity that only someone who has lived through it could render. Ultimately, it's a story about where we turn when faced with the threat of waking up one morning to emptiness: to family, to faith, and to words. Highly recommended.

— Molly


One of the unheralded masterpieces of twentieth-century American fiction, Light While There Is Light is acclaimed poet Keith Waldrop's autobiographical novel about the myriad ghosts left behind by his family. Born to a deeply religious mother, the narrator and his siblings are led across the US as she searches for the right religious sect a trip that ends with her speaking in tongues, and finally her total isolation. But no synopsis can do justice to the beauty of Keith Waldrop's measured, wise, and unembroidered prose, illuminating the fear, madness, and destruction within hearth and home though never repudiating his love for same. In a tradition that stretches back through Flannery O Connor and William Faulkner to Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe, Keith Waldrop and Light While There Is Light are American treasures.

About the Author

Keith Waldrop is author of numerous collections of poetry and is the translator of The Selected Poems of Edmond Jabes, as well as works by Claude Royet-Journoud, Anne-Marie Albiach and Jean Grosjean. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and DAAD (Berlin). His titles include HEGEL'S FAMILY, THE OPPOSITE OF LETTING THE MIND WANDER: SELECTED POEMS AND A FEW SONGS, SHIPWRECK IN HAVEN: TRANSCENDENTAL STUDIES, The Balustrade, Light While There is Light, THE LOCALITY PRINCIPLE, ANALOGIES OF ESCAPE and HAUNT. He has twice been nominated for the National Book Award: for his first book of poetry, A Windmill Near Calvary (University of Michigan, 1968); and his most recent, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (University of California Press, 2009), which won. With his wife Rosmarie Waldrop he co-edits Burning Deck Press. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and teaches at Brown University.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781564788054
ISBN-10: 1564788059
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publication Date: March 5th, 2013
Pages: 201
Language: English