The Black River Chapbook Competition Winner


Out of stock

The Pilot House

Publication Date: March 2011


This title is out of print.



Winner of the Spring 2009 Black River Chapbook Competition

When The Pilot House was chosen for the 2009 Black River Chapbook, the judges wrote, “The poems in this chapbook made us ache; that’s how good they are.” Rigsbee turns in this collection to spare poems that deal with pivots, revealing incidents when a momentary shift in perspective can bring a whole new world into view-or eclipse a once-firmly held memory. Clear and taut, insistent on the beauty of even harrowing events, it is a collection that handles the past in arresting ways, some potentially redemptive, others turning from reclamation’s siren. Poems about figures as varied as philosopher Richard Rorty, artist Nicholas Carone, astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, and poets William Bronk and Joseph Brodsky, call upon a richly lived writerly life in ways that give the collection purpose and dignity.


“David Rigsbee breaks open the factual planes of anecdote–the faits accomplis of events, of names and dates–to re-construe the connections between them. The poet’s intellect, moving over the face of psychic depths, makes connections with history, with literature and philosophy, but never forgets the human figures who have engaged his imagination, empathy, and love.”

-Carolyne Wright

These poems often begin on the fly, as though we are catching the speaker mid-thought, suspended in the moments of brief narrative. Their meditative quality, oblique and understated, can carry a lot of emotional weight. Check out “Theology” check out “Holbein.” Rigsbee’s voice is quiet and sure.”

-Joseph Millar

About the Author

David Rigsbee

David Rigsbee is the author of 21 books and chapbooks, including seven previous full-length collections of poems.  In addition to his poems, he has also published critical works on Carolyn Kizer and Joseph Brodsky, whom he also translated.  He has co-edited two anthologies, including Invited Guest:  An Anthology of Twentieth Century Southern Poetry, a “notable book” selection of the American Library Association and the American Association of University Professors and featured on C-Span Booknotes.  His work has appeared in AGNIThe American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, The Ohio Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and many others.  He has been recipient of two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a NEH summer fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. His other awards include The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown fellowship, The Virginia Commission on the Arts literary fellowship, The Djerassi Foundation and Jentel Foundation residencies, and an Award from the Academy of American Poets.  Winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, the Vachel Lindsay Poetry Award and the Pound Prize, he was also 2010 winner of the Sam Ragan Award for contribution to the arts in North Carolina. Rigsbee is currently contributing editor for The Cortland Review.

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