The author has arranged her poetry into five sections. Section I deals with attitudes towards possessions – things that are more than things. II is about family, especially her mother’s New England relatives since Patterns in Henna has poems inspired by her father’s life. In III we hear other voices and see other places, including the author’s impressions when traveling. IV describes the circle of the Virginia seasons and includes several poems about hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The poetry in V is more contemplative. The author is older now, more mellow, and comes full circle in her thoughts about life.
Instead of describing them the author has chosen to share a sample poem from each of the five sections.
The Owl in the Christmas Tree
As I crept down the stairs
to plug in the Christmas lights
before the children came down,
two wide topaz eyes stared out
from the tip of the cedar,
a small owl barred brown and white
with talons gripping the star.
I woke the children,” Look,”
I breathed, “.look,
he must have come down the chimney.
See the flakes of soot on the hearth.”
We opened the door
and nudged him with a rake
until reluctantly he flew into an oak.
These are the things you live for --
not designer-wrapped gifts,
the year-end bonus, the red velvet dress,
but a moment of wonder,
of surfeit –
rose-breasted grosbeaks eating holly berries,
wind rich with the spice of wild azaleas,
full moon through river mist --
the owl in the Christmas tree.
Aisle Eight, Cat Food
My father stands by the cat food display
Carefully dressed in suit and tie,
he brightens when shoppers stop their carts,
gravely gives tips to serious ones
who spend a long time reading labels,
sardine or shrimp, whitefish or chicken,
flaked or smothered in gravy,
a difficult choice, the menu
for a true patrician.
I had a cat, he shyly offers, Premi;
it means beloved one.
He slept at the foot of my bed,
and sat on the table to drink the milk
out of my cereal bowl.
No cats at the retirement home, the lady said,
but Premi died beforehand.
He was old too, you know,
and lame. Premi was a great hunter in his prime,
stalking a squirrel or chipmunk like a cheetah.
He was that fast!
His favorites were the Nine Lives tuna
and Whiskas chicken in sauce.
Three aisles over, Mother
selects Campbell's tomato soup for his lunch,
cornmeal muffins, sliced Velveeta, applesauce.
Where's the old gentleman,
the stock boy asks.
He'll be waiting in pet food, aisle eight,
hoping for someone to come by
who likes to talk about cats.
Giraffe, you regard existence
through your fringed Cleopatra eyes.
With Modigliani neck neither stretched nor strained,
your velvet lips select
new growth at the top of an acacia tree,
leaf buds tight and tender as fiddle-heads,
a connoisseur, the gourmand
But the story is primarily personal -- family, friends, boarding school life, experiences and impressions of growing up in two worlds. It is about formative years shaped by World War II, the last days of the British Raj, Indian independence, and by missionary life. The author was a professor’s kid on an Indian college campus and an American girl at boarding school in the Himalayas. Nourished, as she says, by English khana and Hindustani gana, by a rich stew of cultures and religions, and by the natural beauty of her homes, she describes herself as having two taproots, India and America. But she was also part of a third experience that was nourished by both countries, a third culture kid. She conveys the privilege, and challenge, of such a life, discovering, as do many expatriate children, that her country of citizenship seemed sometimes more foreign than the land in which she was born and that she is both at home and a stranger in either world.
The author’s great love for India is apparent. “As a writer," she says, "I can put myself back into a picture and am surrounded by the sounds, smells, people, names I thought I had forgotten. Like shifting color chips in a kaleidoscope, forgotten patterns regroup and are mine again for a moment.”
The ongoing struggle for self-rule was a feature of her landscape in both Jabalpur and Mussoorie -- obstacle after obstacle, marches, arrests. When independence finally arrived, it came with a joyous rush but it came with partition, and the bloody partition rioting. The author writes:
Suddenly we too were involved, and the Landour Muslims were in harm ́s way. One particular night toward the end of August, students heard shouts and screams from the hillside across the valley, a sobering experience. Partition rioting had started in Mussoorie. Standing on the balcony in the afternoons, looking toward the Landour bazaar, girls watched the rioting far across the valley. We had a panoramic view of the Mullingar army headquarters on the ridge and below it the settlement of Muslim homes. We observed ant-like figures climb toward the safety of the Mullingar enclosure. To our horror, columns of smoke rose from burning homes. The flames from one large house lit the sky. Yet there was an eerie unreality to the scene; it was all so far away. We could see the destruction, but it was too far to hear very much. And too, we now had no news from the outside world, and little sense of how widespread and bloodthirsty the riots had become.
Finally it was time for the author to sail back to America to attend Bates College in Maine. It was the end of her childhood. The memoir closes as a new decade begins, New Years Day 1950. It was the start of her “next incarnation,” life at home in her country of citizenship.
I snuggled in, longing for my cat, and looked out the window at the snow and stars. In a few hours it would be New Year’s Day, 1950. I wondered what the new decade would bring me. And I thought about my two lives, the unknown one ahead in this home country that was not really home, where I felt like an outsider, and the one behind me in the country I loved, where I really was an outsider but did not feel like one. I had friends at college and family here who loved me but did not understand me. I thought about
Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss. Love & Misadventure is her first poetry collection.
From the Hardcover edition.
Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise—the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.
Now, for the first time, John Ciardi’s brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante’s three soaring canticles—The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—have been gathered together in a single volume. Crystallizing the power and beauty inherent in the great poet’s immortal conception of the aspiring soul, The Divine Comedy is a dazzling work of sublime truth and mystical intensity.
This long-awaited new edition of Lattimore's Iliad is designed to bring the book into the twenty-first century—while leaving the poem as firmly rooted in ancient Greece as ever. Lattimore's elegant, fluent verses—with their memorably phrased heroic epithets and remarkable fidelity to the Greek—remain unchanged, but classicist Richard Martin has added a wealth of supplementary materials designed to aid new generations of readers. A new introduction sets the poem in the wider context of Greek life, warfare, society, and poetry, while line-by-line notes at the back of the volume offer explanations of unfamiliar terms, information about the Greek gods and heroes, and literary appreciation. A glossary and maps round out the book.
The result is a volume that actively invites readers into Homer's poem, helping them to understand fully the worlds in which he and his heroes lived—and thus enabling them to marvel, as so many have for centuries, at Hektor and Ajax, Paris and Helen, and the devastating rage of Achilleus.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Thus begins “Phenomenal Woman,” just one of the beloved poems collected here in Maya Angelou’s third book of verse. These poems are powerful, distinctive, and fresh—and, as always, full of the lifting rhythms of love and remembering. And Still I Rise is written from the heart, a celebration of life as only Maya Angelou has discovered it.
“It is true poetry she is writing,” M.F.K. Fisher has observed, “not just rhythm, the beat, rhymes. I find it very moving and at times beautiful. It has an innate purity about it, unquenchable dignity. . . . It is astounding, flabbergasting, to recognize it, in all the words I read every day and night . . . it gives me heart, to hear so clearly the caged bird singing and to understand her notes.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.
Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist.
The Poet's Companion presents brief essays on the elements of poetry, technique, and suggested subjects for writing, each followed by distinctive writing exercises. The ups and downs of writing life—including self-doubt and writer's block—are here, along with tips about getting published and writing in the electronic age. On your own, this book can be your "teacher," while groups, in or out of the classroom, can profit from sharing weekly assignments.
"You've done excellent research and there were some things that I learned that I didn't know. It was interesting what you had to say about the accusers and about his dad, Joe Jackson. I liked your comparison that Americans will sleep with animals in their bed but they are not accused of bestailiaty... good comparison... You've presented a convincing story about people who fabricated stories for personal gain, including the media, at the expense of Michael Jackson... great job and very interesting." Larry Nimmer
Revised and corrected, this edition includes Yeats's own notes on his poetry, complemented by explanatory notes from esteemed Yeats scholar Richard J. Finneran. The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats is the most comprehensive edition of one of the world's most beloved poets available in paperback.
In his work a continent awakens to consciousness," wrote the Swedish Academy in awarding the Nobel Prize to Pablo Neruda, author of more than thirty-five books of poetry and one of Latin America's most revered writers and political figures-a loyal member of the Communist party, a lifelong diplomat and onetime senator, a man lionized during his lifetime as "the people's poet."
Born Neftali Basoalto, Neruda adopted his pen name in fear of his family's disapproval, and yet by the age of twenty-five he was already famous for the book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, which remains his most beloved. During the next fifty years, a seemingly boundless metaphorical language linked his romantic fantasies and the fierce moral and political compass-exemplified in books such as Canto General-that made him an adamant champion of the dignity of ordinary men and women.
Edited and with an introduction by Ilan Stavans, this is the most comprehensive single-volume collection of this prolific poet's work in English. Here the finest translations of nearly six hundred poems by Neruda are collected and join specially commissioned new translations that attest to Neruda's still-resounding presence in American letters.
Revised and corrected, this edition includes Yeats's own notes on his poetry, complemented by explanatory notes from esteemed Yeats scholar Richard J. Finneran. The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats is the most comprehensive edition of one of the world's most beloved poets available.
From the revolutionary "Seduction" to the tender new poem, "Just a Simple Declaration of Love," from the whimsical "I Wrote a Good Omelet" to the elegiac "All Eyez on U," written for Tupac Shakur, these poems embody the fearless passion and spirited wit for which Nikki Giovanni is beloved and revered.
Romantic, bold, and erotic, Love Poems expresses notions of love in ways that are delightfully unexpected. Articulating in sensuous verse what we know only instinctively, Nikki Giovanni once again confirms her place as one of our nations's most distinguished poets and powerful truth-tellers.In a career that has spanned more than a quarter century, starting with her explosive early years in the Black Rights Movement, Nikki Giovanni has earned a reputation as one of America's most celebrated and controversial writers. Her mind-speaking work has made her a universal favorite and a number-one best-seller.The love poems-the revolutionary "Seduction," the whimsical "I Wrote a Good Omelet," and the tender "My House" to name just a few-are among the most beloved of all Nikki Giovanni's works. Now, Love Poems brings together these and other favorites with over twenty new poems. Romantic, bold, and erotic, Love Poems will once again confirm Nikki Giovanni's place among the country's most renowned poets and truth tellers.
Nikki self–published her first book Black Feeling, Black Talk/BlackJudgement in 1969, selling 10,000 copies; William Morrow published in 1970. Know for its iconic revolutionary phrases, it is heralded as one of the most important volumes of modern African–American poetry and is considered the seminal volume of Nikki's body of work.
My House (Morrow 1972) marks a new dimension in tone and philosphy––This is Giovanni's first foray into the autobiographical.
In The Women and the Men (Morrow 1975), Nikki displays her compassion for the people, things and places she has encountered––She reveres the ordinary and is in search of the extraordinary.
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day (Morrow 1978) is one of the most poignant and introspective of all Giovanni's collections. These poems chronicle the drastic change that took place during the 1970s––when the dreams of the Civil Rights era seemed to have evaporated.
Those Who Ride the Night Winds (Morrow 1983) is devoted to "the day trippers and midnight cowboys," the ones who have devoted their lives to pushing the limits of the human condition and shattered the constraints of the stautus quo.
To Persians , the poems of Hafiz are not "classical literature" from a remote past but cherished wisdom from a dear and intimate friend that continue to be quoted in daily life. With uncanny insight, Hafiz captures the many forms and stages of love. His poetry outlines the stages of the mystic's "path of love"-a journey in which love dissolves personal boundaries and limitations to join larger processes of growth and transformation.
With this stunning collection, Ladinsky has succeeded brilliantly in translating the essence of one of Islam's greatest poetic and spiritual voices.
"If you haven't yet had the delight of dining with Daniel Ladinsky's sweet, playful renderings of the musings of the great saints, I Heard God Laughing is a perfect appetizer. . . . This newly released edition of his first playful foray into Hafiz's divinely inspired poetry is essential reading . . . . Ladinsky is a master who will be remembered for finally bringing Hafiz alive in the West."—Alexandra Marks, The Christian Science Monitor
“America’s favorite poet.”—The Wall Street Journal
From the two-term Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins comes his first volume of new and selected poems in twelve years. Aimless Love combines fifty new poems with generous selections from his four most recent books—Nine Horses, The Trouble with Poetry, Ballistics, and Horoscopes for the Dead. Collins’s unmistakable voice, which brings together plain speech with imaginative surprise, is clearly heard on every page, reminding us how he has managed to enrich the tapestry of contemporary poetry and greatly expand its audience. His work is featured in top literary magazines such as The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Atlantic, and he sells out reading venues all across the country. Appearing regularly in The Best American Poetry series, his poems appeal to readers and live audiences far and wide and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. By turns playful, ironic, and serious, Collins’s poetry captures the nuances of everyday life while leading the reader into zones of inspired wonder. In the poet’s own words, he hopes that his poems “begin in Kansas and end in Oz.” Touching on the themes of love, loss, joy, and poetry itself, these poems showcase the best work of this “poet of plenitude, irony, and Augustan grace” (The New Yorker).
Go, little book,
out of this house and into the world,
carriage made of paper rolling toward town
bearing a single passenger
beyond the reach of this jittery pen
and far from the desk and the nosy gooseneck lamp.
It is time to decamp,
put on a jacket and venture outside,
time to be regarded by other eyes,
bound to be held in foreign hands.
So off you go, infants of the brain,
with a wave and some bits of fatherly advice:
stay out as late as you like,
don’t bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can.
Praise for Aimless Love
“[Billy Collins] is able, with precious few words, to make me cry. Or laugh out loud. He is a remarkable artist. To have such power in such an abbreviated form is deeply inspiring.”—J. J. Abrams, The New York Times Book Review
“His work is poignant, straightforward, usually funny and imaginative, also nuanced and surprising. It bears repeated reading and reading aloud.”—The Plain Dealer
“Collins has earned almost rock-star status. . . . He knows how to write layered, subtly witty poems that anyone can understand and appreciate—even those who don’t normally like poetry. . . . The Collins in these pages is distinctive, evocative, and knows how to make the genre fresh and relevant.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Collins’s new poems contain everything you've come to expect from a Billy Collins poem. They stand solidly on even ground, chiseled and unbreakable. Their phrasing is elegant, the humor is alive, and the speaker continues to stroll at his own pace through the plainness of American life.”—The Daily Beast
“[Collins’s] poetry presents simple observations, which create a shared experience between Collins and his readers, while further revealing how he takes life’s everyday humdrum experiences and makes them vibrant.”—The Times Leader
From the Hardcover edition.
Rumi's masterpieces have inspired countless people throughout the centuries, and Coleman Barks's exquisite renderings of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic are widely considered the definitive versions for our time. Barks's translations capture the inward exploration and intensity that characterize Rumi's poetry, making this unique voice of mysticism and desire contemporary while remaining true to the original poems. In this volume readers will encounter the essence of Sufism's insights into the experience of divine love, wisdom, and the nature of both humanity and God.
While Barks's stamp on this collection is clear, it is Rumi's voice that leaps off these pages with a rapturous power that leaves readers breathless. These poems express our deepest yearning for the transcendent connection with the source of the divine: there are passionate outbursts about the torment of longing for the beloved and the sweet delight that comes from union; stories of sexual adventures and of loss; poems of love and fury, sadness and joy; and quiet truths about the beauty and variety of human emotion. For Rumi, soul and body and emotion are not separate but are rather part of the great mystery of mortal life, a riddle whose solution is love. Above all else, Rumi's poetry exposes us to the delight that comes from being fully alive, urging us always to put aside our fears and take the risk of discovering our core self:No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the face of God.
These fresh, original translations magnificently convey Rumi's insights into the human heart and its longings with his signature passion and daring, focusing on the ecstatic experience of the inseparability of human and divine love. The match between Rumi's sublime poetry and Coleman Barks's poetic art are unequaled, and here this artistic union is raised to new heights.
'I think I shall be among the English Poets after my death,' John Keats soberly prophesied in 1818 as he started writing the blankverse epic Hyperion. Today he endures as the archetypal Romantic genius who explored the limits of the imagination and celebrated the pleasures of the senses but suffered a tragic early death. Edmund Wilson counted him as 'one of the half dozen greatest English writers,' and T. S. Eliot has paid tribute to the Shakespearean quality of Keats's greatness. Indeed, his work has survived better than that of any of his contemporaries the devaluation of Romantic poetry that began early in this century. This Modern Library edition contains all of Keats's magnificent verse: 'Lamia,' 'Isabella,' and 'The Eve of St. Agnes'; his sonnets and odes; the allegorical romance Endymion; and the five-act poetic tragedy Otho the Great. Presented as well are the famous posthumous and fugitive poems, including the fragmentary 'The Eve of Saint Mark' and the great 'La Belle Dame sans Merci,' perhaps the most distinguished literary ballad in the language. 'No one else in English poetry, save Shakespeare, has in expression quite the fascinating felicity of Keats, his perception of loveliness,' said Matthew Arnold. 'In the faculty of naturalistic interpretation, in what we call natural magic, he ranks with Shakespeare.'
Have not been born yet
They are waiting quietly
For their past to die
please give blood
Here is the account of a man so ravished by a kiss that it distorts his highest and lowest frequencies of understanding into an Incongruent mean of babble and brilliance...
One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything.
He fell in love.
Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a striking collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method. Chasers of the Light features some of his most insightful and beautifully worded pieces of work—poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light.
Lang Leav's evocative poetry in a gorgeous package with ribbon marker and cloth spine is an irresistible gift for any poetry lover!
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has come to define her life’s work, transporting us to the marshland and coastline of her beloved home, Provincetown, Massachusetts. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her treasured dog Percy, Oliver is open to the teachings contained in the smallest of moments and explores with startling clarity, humor, and kindness the mysteries of our daily experience.
Mary Oliver's latest book, Upstream, will be published in October 2016 by Penguin Press
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Edited by John Martin, the legendary publisher of Black Sparrow Press and a close friend of Bukowski's, The Pleasures of the Damned is a selection of the best works from Bukowski's long poetic career, including the last of his never-before-collected poems. Celebrating the full range of the poet's extraordinary and surprising sensibility, and his uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a rich lifetime of experiences and speak to Bukowski's “immense intelligence, the caring heart that saw through the sham of our pretenses and had pity on our human condition” (New York Quarterly). The Pleasures of the Damned is an astonishing poetic treasure trove, essential reading for both longtime fans and those just discovering this unique and legendary American voice.
The uninterrupted energy of Ginsberg's remarkable career is clearly revealed in this collection. Seen in order of composition, the poems reflect on one another; they are not only works but also a work. Included here are all the poems from the earlier volume Collected Poems 1947-1980, and from Ginsberg's subsequent and final three books of new poetry: White Shroud, Cosmopolitan Greetings, and Death & Fame. Enriching this book are illustrations by Ginsberg's artist friends; unusual and illuminating notes to the poems, inimitably prepared by the poet himself; extensive indexes; as well as prefaces and various other materials that accompanied the original publications.
Here, readers will find solace in works that are bracing and courageous, organized into such resonant headings as "Such As It Is More or Less" and "Let It Spill." From William Shakespeare and Walt Whitman to R. S. Gwynn and Jennifer Michael Hecht, the voices gathered in this collection will be more than welcome to those who've been struck by bad news, who are burdened by stress, or who simply appreciate the power of good poetry.
Contributors: Kim Addonizio, JoAnn Balingit, Ellen Bass, Jan Beatty, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Robert Bense, Pam Bernard, Michelle Bitting, Deborah Bogen, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Edward Byrne, Kelly Cherry, Philip F. Deaver, Bruce Dethlefsen, Caitlin Doyle, Patricia Fargnoli, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Amy Gerstler, Karin Gottshall, Jennifer Gresham, Bruce Guernsey, Marilyn Hacker, Jeffrey Harrison, Lola Haskins, Jane Hirshfield, Gray Jacobik, Rod Jellema, Richard Jones, Julie Kane, Adele Kenny, Dorianne Laux, Sydney Lea, Hailey Leithauser, Jeffrey Levine, Diane Lockward, Denise Low, Jennifer Maier, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, Jeffrey McDaniel, Wesley McNair, Susan Laughter Meyers, Bronwen Butter Newcott, Alicia Ostriker, Linda Pastan, Stanley Plumly, Vern Rutsala, Martha Silano, Marilyn L. Taylor, Matthew Thorburn, Lee Upton, Nance Van Winckel, Ingrid Wendt, Nancy White, Cecilia Woloch, Baron Wormser, Suzanne Zweizig
An additional forty-five accomplished poets contributed sample poems inspired by the prompts in this book.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
There is no one quite like Jack Gilbert in postwar American poetry. After garnering early acclaim with Views of Jeopardy (1962), he escaped to Europe and lived apart from the literary establishment, honing his uniquely fierce, declarative style, with its surprising abundance of feeling. He reappeared in our midst with Monolithos (1982) and then went underground again until The Great Fires (1994), which was eventually followed by Refusing Heaven (2005), a prizewinning volume of surpassing joy and sorrow, and the elegiac The Dance Most of All (2009). Whether his subject is his boyhood in working-class Pittsburgh, the women he has loved throughout his life, or the bittersweet losses we all face, Gilbert is by turns subtle and majestic: he steals up on the odd moment of grace; he rises to crescendos of emotion. At every turn, he illuminates the basic joys of everyday experience.
Now, for the first time, we have all of Jack Gilbert’s work in one essential volume: testament to a stunning career and to his place at the forefront of poetic achievement in our time.
She is a fascinating and unique collection of interconnected poems by this multi-talented star -- and marks the beginning of an incredible and totally original artistic career.