The Story of the End of the Story

By James Galvin b. 1951 James Galvin
To keep from ending
The story does everything it can,
Careful not to overvalue
Perfection or undervalue
Perfect chance,
As I am careful not to do in telling.
By now a lot has happened:
Bridges under the water,
No time outs,
Sinewy voices from under the earth
Braiding and going straight up
In a faint line.
I modify to simplify,
Complicate to clarify.
If you want to know your faults, marry.
If you want to know your virtues, die.
Then the heroine,
Who resembles you in certain particulars,
Precipitates the suicide
Of the author, wretchedly obscure,
Of that slim but turgid volume,
By letting slip:
Real events don't have endings,
Only the stories about them do.

James Galvin, "The Story of the End of the Story" from Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997. Copyright © 1997 by James Galvin. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townshend, WA 98368-0271,

Source: Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997 (Copper Canyon Press, 1997)

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Poet James Galvin b. 1951

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Growing Old, Relationships, Living, Separation & Divorce, Men & Women

 James  Galvin


James Galvin is the author of several collections of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems, 1975–1997 and X (2003); a novel, Fencing the Sky (1999); and The Meadow (1992), a prose meditation on the landscape of the Wyoming-Colorado border and the people who live there.

Galvin’s work is infused with the genuine realities of the western landscape, while at the same time not shirking difficult questions of faith, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Growing Old, Relationships, Living, Separation & Divorce, Men & Women

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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