There’s a Poem for That: Gerald Arthur Moore + Flak Jacket

Poet Gerald Arthur “Art” Moore introduces us to “Our Giant” from his new collection Flak Jacket (Now or Never Publishing), a series of poems that chronicle difficult, awkward, and harrowing moments in life.

A graphic reading: "There's a poem for...complicated grief" with a picture of the cover of Flak Jacket by Gerald Arthur Moore and an inset photo of the author.


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There's a poem for that... NPM on All Lit Up.

An interview with poet Gerald Arthur Moore

All Lit Up: Can you tell us a bit about Flak Jacket and how it came to be?

The cover of Flak Jacket by Gerald Arthur Moore.

Gerald Arthur Moore: The characters in Flak Jacket are well known to me, because I have pulled them from a series of analepsis and formed them into a gaggle of poems. The backbone of Flak Jacket comes from a drive to drug rehab, at least two murders, a complex father/son relationship, the tribulations of working in Haiti after the earthquake, and several unusual classroom experiences while teaching high school.

ALU: What has been your most unlikely source of writing inspiration?

Gerald Arthur Moore: There are a few poems in here that rise from the awkward and the awful. These include a poem about a poorly shot deer, and a second poem about the loss of my sister’s virginity. Those two poems are a good example of writing that pulls from an unlikely muse.

ALU: If you were to set your collection to a soundtrack, what song is at the top of the listing?

Gerald Arthur Moore: If I were to set this collection to a soundtrack, the song would be the 1964 piano led jazz piece titled “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Please note: if something should happen to me, that is also the song I’d like for my funerary exit. Further, nobody should accompany me to the burying ground, I’ll take that ride on my own. You folks head straight to the pub.   

ALU: Can you discuss the significance of language and word choice in your collection? How did you land on the words you use?

Gerald Arthur Moore: “Our Giant” uses short line lengths. The rhythm of the poem comes from frequent slant rhyme, assonance, and alliteration. The author Mark Sampson recently remarked that I write about hands frequently – some type of unusual recurring motif. Hands play a role in this poem too – as symbol and metaphor.

There’s a poem for complicated grief…
“Our Giant” from Flak Jacket

for Pete Middleton

Drill limestone chambers,

rainwater inundations, wait

for winter expansion to split

blocks, sell to stone masons,

quarried wagonloads up the

escarpment to The Village.

Made his own swish, used

booze barrels refilled with

boil, sugared, leach whiskey

from slats, super ferment to

twenty percent, chase with

dandelion wine, tasted like


Nana would soap his hair

once a year, sink-washing,

hand over hand, bucket water

slurry, straight razor sculpture,

slowly touched his smooth

chin with aftershave, kissed

his forehead, he would blush

like sunrise.

Wearing a paper crown at

Christmastide, pint bottles

were small in his massive

hands, where he’d sit on a

step stool—the only chair

that fit him, a giant’s


Pin up girls smiling

in his corrugated shotgun

shack, small woodstove,

firewood stacks were

careful round mounds,

stone walk with soldier

course, birdsong, star

ceiling, AM radio, and axe.

Trundle up Devil’s Elbow

past the Old Mill with

a brace of hare by their ears,

lifelessly staring, broken

necks bobbing,

draped them over porch rail

like dolls for Nana.

When he got sick, there

was no one, in his narrow

bunk he cramped and cried,

discovered inside a week after

laying down for the last time,

crows had stolen his eyes.

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A photo of author Gerald Arthur Moore. He is a light-skin toned man with short hair and beard, and wears a black tshirt. He punches toward the camera lens, the letters "R A T R O M E O" are written on the knuckles of his hands.

Gerald Arthur (Art) Moore is an adventurer, a part-time university lecturer, a high school teacher, and a rugby coach living in Moncton, New Brunswick. Author of the poetry collection Shatter the Glass, Shards of Flame, his work has appeared in Queen’s Quarterly, Vallum, The Antigonish Review, The Nashwaak Review, The Dalhousie Review, Qwerty, Off the Coast, Prairie Fire, Boston Poetry Magazine, Quills, and The Military Review. Moore has led six humanitarian work projects to Haiti since the devastating earthquake there in 2010, and his employment history includes army officer, school teacher, and bootlegger.

Art’s latest poetry collection, Flak Jacket, is now available in bookstores and online.

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Thanks to Art Moore for answering our questions, and to Now or Never Publishing for the text of “Our Giant” from Flak Jacket, which is available to order now (and get 15% off with the code THERESAPROMO4THAT until April 30!).

For more poetry month, catch up on our “there’s a poem for that” series here, and visit our poetry shop here.