the poetry

Heavenly Bodies

"I threw my trust into the cosmic dust, and gave up to the galaxies whirling in my bones."

 Heavenly Bodies, coming in fall 2019 from NFB Publications, is Gary’s collection of poems about humanity’s passionate relationship with the stars.

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Heavenly Bodies continues Walt Whitman’s mission to sing humanity’s oneness with the universe.  Musical and rich in rhythms, these are fantasy-filled nature poems, not of rivers and roses but comets and constellations.  Young stars stand beaming beside their school desks to sing a favorite song, the stars of travelers roll the dice in a grease-stained constellation, the seductive seven sisters dance in silver gowns until the starry curtain comes down, and at last the heavens part to take us in forever after.  These poems will help readers see the night sky with a new sense of where we come from, where we’re going, and the star-lit scenes of love and death between.  

Could a vision of the roles of the stars in human life help us understand who we are and why we’re here?  Heavenly Bodies both earnestly and playfully spells out alluring celestial mysteries for multitudes: astronomers, astrologers, naturalists, lovers petting under the night sky, and everyone else who has ever felt a compelling power in the stars that draws us all, expands our worlds, and charges our lives with wonder.


“At once celebratory, lyrical, personal, astrological, and even on occasion delightfully salacious, Gary Moore’s Heavenly Bodies is not only my favorite book of contemporary poetry, it’s also a wondrous antidote to the tortured academicism of contemporary American poetry. For antecedents think Robinson Jeffers. Think Allen Ginsberg. Think Walt Whitman. Especially think Walt Whitman, who would have liked, no, loved this book and who, if he was delivering this blurb, might have written: ‘Mr. Moore’s poems are large, they contain multitudes….”  

—Lawrence Millman, author of At The End Of The World and Last Places  


Performance Poems

Poetry was Gary’s first literary love, a romance with discovery and music in the words of the elegant little lyric.  The poet Allen Tate told him he avoided the two worst sins of his generation: obscurity and a bad ear.  After graduate school in writing he published poems and gave readings.  A night at the theater changed his life.  He read some quiet complex poetry at a benefit show to revive and old Vermont theater, and after his moment of polite applause witnessed the foot-stomping ovation for the band that covered “Bungalow Bill.”  

Was there a kind of poetry so accessible and moving?  Rap and slams hadn’t yet popularized performance poetry, or maybe we should say “re-popularized” it, because oral poetry preceded literary poetry by thousands of years and gave birth to it.  But having written plays, Gary soon found ways to write poetry for the stage as well as the page.  He wrote narrative poetry and called for the return of the oral tradition. Many of his mythic story poems use Abraham Lincoln as a fantasy character.  All are performed, not read, some using props, slide shows, and/or music.  These performance poems have played to enthusiastic crowds in Shanghai and Istanbul, as well as at colleges, galleries, bookshops, storytelling festivals and other venues across the U.S. and Canada.

They include:
Leap Out Laughing In Light – A primitive spirit-driving chant to cast out fear
King Of The Jews – Abraham Lincoln helps a little boy find a giant heart 
How I Got My Hat -- A tequila-fueled poker game in the Mexican desert gives the winner – or was he the loser? -- a mission 
I Give Them All Up For You – Amorous honesty
His Burning Progress – The passion of Lincoln’s last day
The Abraham Lincoln Catalog Of Mythic Experience – A Lincoln for every job

“To see Gary Moore's performance poetry is to witness a modern-day bard, immediate and deep, exciting and wise.”

—Henry Korn, Artistic Director, The John Drew Theater


Contact Gary if you’d like to know more about his performance poetry.