Commentary
5:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Book Review: The End Of Space

Albert Goldbarth is the author of six collections of essays and more than 25 books of poetry. He has received the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. Twice. And he lives in our backyard.

Goldbarth is the Adele B. Davis Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Wichita State University. His newest release is a chapbook titled The End of Space. In this collection of essays, Goldbarth explores how, after the Pacific Ocean stopped our westward expansion, we turned to outer space. He quotes Ray Bradbury as saying, "The enemy of every boy is gravity."

There's a sense of threat as well as attraction. With his trademark humor, Goldbarth pays tribute to items cast aside as we journey through time, conquering more space: typewriters, the space shuttle, the rolodex, lickable stamps, journalism as a college major... privacy. And he also looks at how lost potential can be "the end of space" for some.

The only thing better than reading Albert Goldbarth is to listen to Albert Goldbarth read his work. If you've had the pleasure of hearing him read, you can't help but hear his voice or hear his inflection as you read his words. Goldbarth is generous with his readers. One doesn't need to match his encyclopedic knowledge to enjoy it.

The publisher of this chapbook, Tavern Books, is a not-for-profit organization that exists to print, promote and preserve works of literary vision. The End of Space is beautifully produced. Hand-bound with French flaps, the quality of the book itself honors the craft of the poetry.