Gerald Cable’s poems are so full of life—exploring, inquiring, imagining—that it’s still hard to come to grips with his too early death. There is a wonderful spontaneity here, as the poems twist, weave, dart and land in unexpected places. In this absorbing book Cable moves through a wide assortment of jobs—crab fishing, panning for gold, farming and construction work—as well as extremes of weather—30 below winters, violent summer rainstorms—and a multitude of human and animal encounters. As they offer up verbal and sensory revelations, these poems express the full richness of one man’s experience.
— John Morgan, author of nine books, including The Hungers of the World: New and Collected Later Poems
It must be good to know, deep inside, that one lived one’s life to the fullest. I never met Jerry Cable, only heard about him—but I feel I’ve met him now, and I am stunned. His poems capture what it is to live and work for twenty years in Interior Alaska, all the while navigating between one’s past and the future, the cold and warmth, the fun and not. At the same time, many of the poems are like shining, mystical riddles. Spare and honest, they explore what lies beneath the moment – vivid, poignant, ecstatic, unsayable.
— Carolyn Kremers, author of Place of the Pretend People: Gifts from a Yup’ik Eskimo Village, The Alaska Reader: Voices from the North, and the poetry collection Upriver, finalist for the 2014 Willa Award
Gerald Cable’s new poetry book, If Singing Went On, is an extraordinary collection that explores the beauty and heartbreak of the world. These poems are the words of a man who built his own cabin in Alaska and worked construction there for many years. They examine ordinary events and difficult topics, all with the same careful attention to language. The voice in these resilient and achingly beautiful poems is powerful, confident, and wholly unique. I recommend this book with all my heart.
— Linda Schandelmeier, author of Listening Hard Among the Birches and Coming Out of Nowhere, winner of the Willa Award