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Author Archive: "Matt Bell"

Matt Bell: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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A book — especially one unasked for, chosen as a surprise — is one of the most personal gifts I can think of: How well do I know the person I'm giving the book to, and can I accurately match their tastes and moods and needs? It's a difficult task, but one way to start is perhaps to choose a book that has moved me first, that continues to move me as tastes change and moods shift and new needs arise.

For the past few years — too short a span, because I came to his work so late — there have been few writers who have thrilled and lifted and sustained me like Jack Gilbert, and the release of his Collected Poems last year was in and of itself a gift. In one of my favorite poems, "A Brief for the Defense," Gilbert writes that "We must risk delight. We can ...


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