BEFORE MY EYES by Caroline Bock

In Dispraise of Poetry: Finding Jack Gilbert in D.C.

When the King of Siam disliked a courtier,
He gave him a beautiful white elephant.
….” In Dispraise of Poetry by Jack Gilbert

I made a great find this past weekend at Capitol Books, a used bookstore in D.C. with floor-to-ceilings offerings in a row house near the Eastern Market—a copy of the poet Jack Gilbert’s Views of Jeopardy, his first book of poetry from The Yale Series of Younger Poets, published in 1962. I am not a collector of things— I’ve never felt the urge to bring anything but words into my house.

I believe there may be a chapbook out there. I remember he published one while I was at Syracuse University, the one year he taught at this upstate New York college, and I believe I even bought it. But it’s lost to the years and a dozen or so moves.

“Three days I sat
Bewildered by love.
Three nights I watched
The gradations of dark.
Of light …
Before Morning in Perugia by Jack Gilbert

What I remember most about him was that he was slight man, white haired and in his sixties by the time I was his student. He was passionate about the poetic line and about women, especially those he found himself with in places foreign to him, a guy from Pittsburgh, and I find that these passions imbued in this early set of poems.

“… When I got quiet
she’d put on usually Debussy
leaning down to the small ribs
bite me.
Portrait Number Five: Against A New York Summer by Jack Gilbert

I think of him so young writing these poems, and want to cry out, but instead I read on, gorging on the words, ebullient with my find.

Have you ever found a book at a used bookstore you treasure?


P.S. please consider reading my new, mature young adult novel: BEFORE MY EYES (St. Martin’s Press, 2014)



April at MWAA: Is YA Fiction Your Genre?

Annapolis Chapter of the MWA

Young adult (YA) fiction is one of the hottest segments of the publishing market these days, but writing effectively for this audience demands an approach that in many ways makes writing YA more challenging that writing for either adults or children.

headshot-2015-caroline-bockJoin us on Wednesday, April 19th to learn more about what it takes to write successfully for a growing audience of increasingly discerning and sophisticated YA readers. Noted DC author Caroline Bock discusses what it is that draws her to YA fiction, the challenges inherent in the genre and what she does to overcome them, the path to publication, and some of what she’s learned as a successful YA author.

About the speaker: Caroline Bock is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novels Lie and Before My Eyes from St. Martin’s Press. Her short fiction is included in the 2017 District Lines IV and in the 2016…

View original post 74 more words

Jones Beach State Park, story by Caroline Bock (BEACH AND POOL MEMORIES Poetry and Prose Series)

Silver Birch Press

jones-beachJones Beach State Park
by Caroline Bock

Pop always approached the ocean gingerly, patting down his freckled arms with handfuls of briny, blue-grey water, letting the cold seep in, his broad back muscled tough like a turtle’s shell. He always wore green bathing trunks striped with palm trees down to his hairy knees. He wasn’t by nature a cautious man. In fact, that day, the hottest of summer by far, he drove us, his four kids between the ages of three and eight to Jones Beach, and let us loose with only a warning to stay clear of stinging jellyfish, deadly undertows, and killer sharks. “If you’re afraid, stay on the sand,” he said, abandoning his ablutions, and diving under a seawall of a wave. We couldn’t figure out what he wanted us to do, follow him, or not? The tide streamed through our toes, threatening to pull us in…

View original post 237 more words