For several  decades early in the last century, the writers of the American South published some of our most important literature — works of religious seriousness, historical scope, traditional reverence, moral reckoning, and formal dexterity. The heirs to such achievement have been few. David Middleton is one of the best among them. In his few but distinguished books, he has again and again brought us poems where the profound beauty of meter joins with the high themes of human life, where rootedness in place is joined with metaphysical vision. He is surely one of the finest living poets of the American South and a poet destined long to be read by everyone with an ear for music and an eye for classical precision.

— James Matthew Wilson


In the time and distance between Grecian lindens and Louisiana oaks, there are few gates that David Middleton cannot peer through in his search for meaning in the poetry of earthly life, with its mythologies, histories, paintings, fellow poets, and landscapes. His observations in Outside the Gates of Eden are told and revealed with the highest poetic craft and art.

— John P. Doucet


These beautifully structured poems show . . . contrasts between life now and that of the once-perfect Eden. All are elegant, stately, and carefully constructed. Middleton’s well-chiseled poetry, centered on what “Eden” means, captures brilliantly many elements of life — its challenges, loves, austerities, and wisdom — in such a way that clearly elevates Middleton to the position of one of the most important American poets alive today.

— Olivia Pass


Vibrating with the fathomless question of human being, these poems pay homage to all that mends our minds and souls as we wander the world, exiles of an ever-remembered Eden. Erudite without being oblique, written in measures and yet bursting with primordial verve, Middleton’s verses partake of the great, centuries-old conversation while wrestling new yields from its words and the Word.

— Joshua Hren


David Middleton develops in this new volume major panels of his vision. Announced by the title, the Judeo-Christian tradition underpins the whole. Among other sources of inspiration are the classics, nature, great Southern figures, and twentieth-century rural and small-town South, treated with deep reverence and sentiment. Graphic art, one of Middleton’s longtime concerns, provides material for many fine poems, generally ekphrastic and based on work by Poussin, Constable, and Millet. Fittingly, death must occupy a place. “The Potter’s Epitaph” joins the two themes, death and art, strikingly. The poet’s moving word-pictures illustrate his sweeping vision, pastoral but, of necessity, reflecting the flawed human condition, broken after Eden.

— Catharine Savage Brosman

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Until his retirement in June of 2010, David Middleton served for thirty-three years as Professor of English, Poet-in-Residence, Distinguished Service Professor, Alcee Fortier Distinguished Professor, and Head of the Department of Languages and Literature at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. In August of 2014, he was named the first Poet in Residence Emeritus at Nicholls. 

Middleton’s books of verse include The Burning Fields (LSU Press, 1991), As Far As Light Remains (The Cummington Press [Harry Duncan], 1993), Beyond the Chandeleurs (LSU Press, 1999), The Habitual Peacefulness of Gruchy: Poems After Pictures by Jean-François Millet (LSU Press, 2005), and The Fiddler of Driskill Hill: Poems (LSU Press, 2013). 

Middleton has served as poetry editor for The Classical Outlook, The Anglican Theological Review, The Louisiana English Journal, and Modern Age. He was also an Advisory editor at Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry and is the literary executor for Alabama poet and essayist John Martin Finlay (1941-1991).