In the last breath of September, it was my pleasure to attend and celebrate Gary Glauber’s new collection of poems, Inside Outrage (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2022). He read beautifully via Zoom. His selected poems touched upon an array of topics: Love, Mr. Rogers, teaching, poetry, civil justice at Starbucks. It was the perfect antidote to the drumming of the atmospheric river and wind pummeling the windows outside, allowing me to disappear inside, into words for an hour that passed too quickly this afternoon.
With a shelved and bespectacled Homer Simpson over one shoulder and a guitar over the other, Glauber began his reading with his poem, “Blocked,” one he explains celebrates a lifetime of poetry. The poet reminds readers, “Let us celebrate the infinity / of our limited mortality…” It is also one that considers time and the travel of, the “…inestimable unknowable” that is “much like a poem.”
A teacher, just one of his many career hats, some of his poems explore education, from setting to art. “Learning to Read” and “Have You Graded the Essays, Yet?” are both essential explorations of educational experience from knowing both sides of the desk. The latter, especially, is relatable, right down to the red pen and the questions even my own high school students ask, “Why don’t we read / anything with a happy ending?” and “Do we need an introduction / and a conclusion?” Here, too, the speaker contemplates student immunity to the very changes his red pen marks, the indication of editing ahead, and proceeds to muse that for students, “Writing / is a lost art, along with reading.” We can all hope not.
There are so many reminders in his poetry of what is to be human and the lessons we’re all bound to learn one way or another. Glauber’s collection is one to savor, and add to the keeper shelf for future returns.