In his latest book of poems, Reparation Gate, Dr. Brian Glaser (English) offers a tribute to his father’s life and work as a theologian and teacher. Reparation Gate includes a series of poems on fatherhood, and many meditations on the concern for social justice shared by Dr. Glaser and his father, who was his hero for many years.

The Voice of Wilkinson had the privilege of talking with Dr. Glaser about his latest publication.

Voice of Wilkinson: Congrats on Reparation Gate! Can you tell me about the poems and why you wrote them for this collection?

Brian Glaser: Thank you! Why do I write poems—good question. Having thought about it for a while now, my best guess is: I want to be loved for helping people realize the good. I don’t think it’s simple to be a good person.

VoW: Reparation Gate … tell me about the title and what does it mean? 

BG: “The Reparation Gate” is the longest poem in the book, the most challenging for me to write. I was trying to figure out my own answer to a question that can’t be answered definitively—why did southern Europeans choose west Africa to terrorize with transatlantic slavery? Reparation is also about repair and healing in relation to loss and injury, and the gate is an image from the Daode Jing I find resonant and apt, one that closes the book.

VoW: What do you hope readers will gain from reading Reparation Gate

BG: I like these words from Seamus Heaney: “poetry has the power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it.”

VoW: What’s your favorite poem in the collection? 

BG: The first poem, “A Dry Clearing,” seems to be the favorite of those I’ve heard from about the book. It was the first I wrote for the collection, and writing it gave me the courage that I might be equal to the challenge of writing a book for my father.