Trinity University Press

What I Can’t Bear Losing

Gerald Stern (author)

Engaging coming-of-age essays from one of America’s most-beloved poets

In stunning personal essays that combine autobiography and meditation, poet Gerald Stern explores significant events in his life. As in his poetry, Stern discovers his subject as he goes along. His poetry has been variously praised for its visionary quality, its passion, its wholehearted embrace of life, its scope, its tenderness, and its use of paradox and irony. He is often compared to Walt Whitman, but Kate Daniels, in the Southern Review, wrote, “Perhaps it would be more accurate to think of him as a postnuclear, multicultural Whitman for the millennium—the United States' one and only truly global poet.”

This new paperback edition of What I Can't Bear Losing contains seven new essays, expanding and enriching an already abundant trove of buoyant and extraordinary writings. Stern reflects on experiences and memories as varied as the time he was shot in the neck (and kept the bullet to prove it!) to tales, both loving and disconcerting, of his father. He relates stories about his childhood in Pittsburgh, time in the military, and encounters with celebrated figures. In all, this collection is a writer's coming-of-age story that includes a glimpse of America in the 1940s and 1950s. From the personal to the political, Stern engages the world in his quintessential voice, which is much beloved in the world of letters.


“National Book Award–winning poet Stern brings the same renowned voice to prose, from a life that began in 1925 in what he recalls as the ‘Calvinist’ Pittsburgh of his immigrant Russian parents.”


“Stern offers ravishingly poetic inquiries into everything from the Jewish Sabbath to the tree of life to love, posing crucial questions of forgiveness and charity. Not only did Stern become a poet against all odds, he has remained a warrior, a seeker, and a writer of conscience.”


What I Can’t Bear Losing cover
  • Price: $17.95 buy »
  • Pages: 384
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.25
  • Published: Oct 2009
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595340542


Memoir, Essays, Judaica