From a cathedral in Cuernavaca with its frescos of samurai and soon-to-be-martyred priests to neighborhoods in Miami at the end of lockdown, to New York City in the 1970s, or to mythic Greece, the poems in Remote Cities are conscious of history as a process happening right now. They look back at us with an urgency that demands response, not that we embrace this or that political or religious dogma but that we live our lives with a sense of their fragility and value.


The poems in George Franklin’s Remote Cities are poems for grown-ups, for people who know what it is to have loved, to have been disappointed in love, to have recovered love. They are wise, thoughtful, self-effacing, realistic about nature and human nature, without illusion but also without bitterness. They understand what it is to find one’s self embedded among the complex ties of family and family history, with all its unsolved issues of duty and responsibility. They understand, without posing and without extenuation, what it is to live in a fallen political and historical world in which there are few unmixed institutions and few soluble problems. They see human life in the widest context, as they are reflected in history, poetry, fine art, and the way the classic stories face us with but do not solve the dark puzzle of our being. To all of these George Franklin brings an acute eye for detail, and a sad, knowing, and thoughtful sense of what it is to be alive and to know that life all the way through. —John Burt, author of Victory

If Robert Hass was right, in that all the new thinking about loss resembles the old thinking, what can be done to restore our lives and world? Remote Cities gathers the lost tribes, from antiquity to modernity to now, in a collection ritually anchored by the presence and body of the beloved, “mi amor”: her nightgown, white shoulders, and the memories, walks, and sensuous meals they share. Reminding us that every person, poem, era, and artwork is a1so looking back at the perceiver, Franklin has done the heretofore impossible: write an epic love poem that, in its refusal of death and dying, casts a new narrative song on the world’s “utter wreck,” making stars shine brighter than before. –-Virginia Konchan, author of Bell Canto

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