"While reading On Retirement as a gerontologist coming to terms with the finitude of life, I was often moved by a phrase here, an insight there. The editors, who have good ears and discerning eyes, have helped me see my aging in fresh ways. To put a human face on aging, we need more works in this genre. For their gift, many audiences will be in their debt."—Andrew Achenbaum, professor of history and social work, University of Houston
"This collection is a magnificent entrée to a season of life when time is at once bountiful and limited, is taken and surrendered, has been invested and withdrawn. Some of these voices say that time is leaden and some say it flies, and all are resolute in facing the arc of life's course."—Dave Ekerdt, director, Gerontology Center, University of Kansas
In the decade ahead, more than 80 million Americans will reach the age of retirement and face what Robin Chapman and Judith Strasser call "the unnerving question, What next?" Indeed, according to the Social Security Administration, the number of Americans sixty-five or older will nearly double between 2000 and 2030. As more people approach retirement, they too will wonder what lies ahead.
This superb collection includes poems by men and women ranging in age from their fifties to their eighties and hailing from different cities, regions, and countries. The entire range of emotions and literary perspectives is represented here, whether the specter of death in Doug Anderson's "Sixty One" or a sly grin in Roger Pfingston's "Retired."
Each poet—whether retired or just contemplating retirement—greets the prospect of this new chapter of life differently. George Bilgere purchases the complete works of Verdi and extravagant silk shirts, while Denise Levertov contemplates life alone. Alicia Ostriker implores readers to "keep on fighting, keep up the good work," and Alberto Ríos recalls a lost love. However we contemplate retirement, this volume will illuminate the careful thoughts of those who have faced these questions before us.
Contributors include Werner Aspenstrom, Chana Bloch, Philip Booth, Hayden Carruth, Lucille Clifton, Ruth Daigon, Susan Elbe, Sam Hamill, Mark Irwin, klipschutz, Ted Kooser, Maxine Kumin, Richard Moore, Naomi Shihab Nye, Grace Paley, Robert Pinsky, Carol Potter, Ishmael Reed, Claudette Mork Sigg, and Ronald Wallace.