Pittsburghese, Latest Release from Wheelbarrow Books Now Available

January 18, 2024

Pittsburghese by Robert Gibb and the thirteenth title from Wheelbarrow Books, an imprint of the RCAH Center for Poetry with distribution by MSU Press, is now available.

Pittsburghese is a work of poignant remembrance, filled with revelations found in the everyday “debris of paradise.” The collection is anchored by personal and public histories, the city’s “consensus things” and “standard archaeologies,” as well as by music—jazz, blues, R&B, and gospel—“sweet rebuttal” to the world’s “cold hymns.” Throughout, motifs function like the thorns on the jaggers—Pittsburghese for brambles—whose points engage the reader “one by one.” Other poems elegize the great buildings and working stiffs of the city’s industrial past, celebrating its artifacts and artworks, the “necessary mystery” of its trees and wild creatures. Particulars of a world in which dialect is the alembic, the means of expression, and the shapes it takes on as well—habitation and name.

The winner of the 2023 Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize (Established), Pittsburghese was selected from a field of ten finalists by final judge Tyehimba Jess.

Robert Gibb is the author of Sightlines, his thirteenth full-length poetry collection, and winner of the 2019 Prize Americana for Poetry. Other books include Among Ruins, which won Notre Dame’s Sandeen Prize in Poetry for 2017; After, which won the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize for 2016; and The Origins of Evening, which was a National Poetry Series selection. He has been awarded two NEA Fellowships, a Best American Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and Prairie Schooner’s Glenna Luschei and Strousse Awards.

The Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize awards publication and a cash prize annually. Click here to view full guidelines.