The higher you go, the lower you reach.
Atheists and theists are bedfellows, for they both presume to know.
An aphorism is a brief expression of a truth or sentiment, and while volumes have been written on life and death, love and loss, pain and pleasure, and right and wrong, sometimes it is a simple aphorism that can best capture the truth and express a point of view, enriching the old and bringing something of the new.
In Aphorisms: Brief Bursts of Truth, author Donald Patrick Redheffer takes his love of philosophy and poetry and probes the human condition in pursuit of truth wherever it lies. With over four thousand succinct, concise bursts of truthcategorized by topic from absolutes, adversity, anticipation, and authority to walking, weather, why, and wisdomeach aphorism provides a truth that is brief and to the point, never allowing belief or desire to change the focus.
Explore within these simple marriages of thought and language a provocative, sometimes profound, and always incomplete reflection of truthfor fiction surrounds truth, whereas aphorisms capture its essence.
My writings come from a place
Enriched by heart and mind,
Where one stares into empty space
For hours at a time,
Pursuing the sublime.
The poetry addresses issues of the head and the heart, exploring philosophy, government, and human nature. It revisits old ideas in an effort to make them live in a way not seen before. The poets mind wanders, not knowing where it will alight.
Milton and His Kind
Shelley, Keats and Tennyson
With voices made to last
Have been replaced by charlatans
Who cry freedom from the past.
Freedom from excellence
Is the hallmark of their craft.
Great intellects are rarely found
In an artistic overdraft.
The minds who might thrill
The thoughtful and the wise
Are seldom seen in poetry
For the world has passed them by.
What passes for verse
Assaulting our mind
Is unworthy of a race
Spawning Milton and his kind.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The hardcover publication of the Odyssey received glowing reviews: The New York Times praised “Mitchell’s fresh, elegant diction and the care he lavishes on meter, [which] brought me closer to the transfigurative experience Keats describes on reading Chapman’s Homer”; Booklist, in a starred review, said that “Mitchell retells the first, still greatest adventure story in Western literature with clarity, sweep, and force”; and John Banville, author of The Sea, called this translation “a masterpiece.”
The Odyssey is the original hero’s journey, an epic voyage into the unknown, and has inspired other creative work for millennia. With its consummately modern hero, full of guile and wit, always prepared to reinvent himself in order to realize his heart’s desire—to return to his home and family after ten years of war—the Odyssey now speaks to us again across 2,600 years.
In words of great poetic power, this translation brings Odysseus and his adventures to life as never before. Stephen Mitchell’s language keeps the diction close to spoken English, yet its rhythms recreate the oceanic surge of the ancient Greek. Full of imagination and light, beauty and humor, this Odyssey carries you along in a fast stream of action and imagery. Just as Mitchell “re-energised the Iliad for a new generation” (The Sunday Telegraph), his Odyssey is the noblest, clearest, and most captivating rendition of one of the defining masterpieces of Western literature.
Lang Leav's evocative poetry in a gorgeous package with ribbon marker and cloth spine is an irresistible gift for any poetry lover!
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.
This edition is a revised translation by D. C. H. Rieu of the translation done by his father, E. V. Rieu, in the first Penguin Classic to be published. Contains a preface by D. C. H. Rieu and an introduction by Peter Jones. Also includes a map, explanatory footnotes, a combined glossary and index, as well as suggestions for further reading of acclaimed criticisms and references.
Intended to help you endure some of your stressful moments and painful experiences, these poems tell us we are not alone. Returned again and again over the centuries by great imaginations are love and death and memory – remembrance of childhood joy, of happy days and beautiful places, of loved ones we have lost or feeling at peace and at one with the natural world. ‘Stressed Unstressed’ harvests an array of poems on such themes in the hope that they will speak to you when you are processing your worries or when you simply want to fill your mind with different, more positive thoughts.
Words can act as drugs, and on the bedside or in a waiting-room this little volume of poetry can help in all sorts of difficult circumstances. So here is a selection of new poems and old, enduring classics and forgotten gems. Next time you are feeling stressed or anxious, worried or sleepless, panicky or unable to cope, ‘Stressed Unstressed’ invites you to read a poem and join the thousands of others who have read and remembered and loved these poems – to form a very special community. This is bibliotherapy.
* Poet Laureate of the United States *
* A New York Times Notable Book of 2011 and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice *
* A New Yorker, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year *
New poetry by the award-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, whose "lyric brilliance and political impulses never falter" (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
You lie there kicking like a baby, waiting for God himself
To lift you past the rungs of your crib. What
Would your life say if it could talk?
—from "No Fly Zone"
With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe to accompany the discoveries, failures, and oddities of human existence. In these brilliant new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and revisits the kitschy concepts like "love" and "illness" now relegated to the Museum of Obsolescence. These poems reveal the realities of life lived here, on the ground, where a daughter is imprisoned in the basement by her own father, where celebrities and pop stars walk among us, and where the poet herself loses her father, one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. With this remarkable third collection, Smith establishes herself among the best poets of her generation.
*Finalist for the 2016 National Book Award*
Solmaz Sharif's astonishing first book, Look, asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable loss of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family's and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed in America's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discrimination endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.
At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. But Sharif refuses to accept this terminology as given, and instead turns it back on its perpetrators. "Let it matter what we call a thing," she writes. "Let me look at you."
Daily I sit
with the language
of our language
the CAPABILITY of LOW DOLLAR VALUE ITEMs
You are what is referred to as
--from "Personal Effects"
The prophet, Almustafa, has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years and is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses topics such as life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with work, love, marriage, eating and drinking, joy and sorrow, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, pleasure, beauty, religion, crime and punishment, reason and passion, and death.
The heart is comforted by true words, just as a thirsty man is comforted by water.
Don’t hide your heart but reveal it, so that mine might be revealed, and I might accept what I am capable of.
If the heart isn’t there, how can the body speak? If the heart doesn’t seek, how can the body seek?
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...
Among the poets included: Elizabeth Alexander, W. H. Auden, Amy Clampitt, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Louise Gluck, Ted Hughes, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Philip Larkin, Li-Young Lee, Philip Levine, Marianne Moore, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, Derek Walcott, and James Wright.
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.
The Divine Comedydescribes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.
'The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante' - Bernard O'Donoghue
'The most moving lines literature has achieved' - Jorge Luis Borges
'This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation - a deeply-informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read' - Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania
Individual editions of Robin Kirkpatrick's translation - Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso - are also available in Penguin Classics, and include Dante's Italian printed alongside the English text.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, including La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. He died in Ravenna in 1321.
Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely-published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's Divine Comedy in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.
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.
For Anne Sexton, writing served as both a means of expressing the inner turmoil she experienced for most of her life and as a therapeutic force through which she exorcised her demons. Some of the richest poetic descriptions of depression, anxiety, and desperate hope can be found within Sexton’s work. The Complete Poems, which includes the eight collections published during her life, two posthumously published books, and other poems collected after her death, brings together her remarkable body of work with all of its range of emotion.
With her first collection, the haunting To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton stunned critics with her frank treatment of subjects like masturbation, incest, and abortion, blazing a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented four years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. The Awful Rowing Toward God, the last book finished in her lifetime, is an earnest and affecting meditation on the existence of God. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires in order to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art.
Anne Sexton breathes new life into sixteen age-old Brothers Grimm fairy tales, reimagining them as poems infused with contemporary references, feminist ideals, and morbid humor. Grounded by nods to the ordinary—a witch’s blood “began to boil up/like Coca-Cola” and Snow White’s bodice is “as tight as an Ace bandage”—Sexton brings the stories out of the realm of the fantastical and into the everyday world. Stripping away their magical sheen, she exposes the flawed notions of family, gender, and morality within the stories that continue to pervade our collective psyche.
Sexton is especially critical of what follows these tales’ happily-ever-after endings, noting that Cinderella never has to face the mundane struggles of marriage and growing old, such as “diapers and dust,” “telling the same story twice,” or “getting a middle-aged spread,” and that after being awakened Sleeping Beauty would likely be plagued by insomnia, taking “knock-out drops” behind the prince’s back. Deconstructed into vivid, visceral, and often highly amusing poems, these fairy tales reflect themes that have long fascinated Sexton—the claustrophobic anxiety of domestic life, the limited role of women in society, and a psychological strife more dangerous than any wicked witch or poisoned apple.
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.
By the time of her death on 11, February 1963, Sylvia Plath had written a large bulk of poetry. To my knowledge, she never scrapped any of her poetic efforts. With one or two exceptions, she brought every piece she worked on to some final form acceptable to her, rejecting at most the odd verse, or a false head or a false tail. Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity. So this book contains not merely what verse she saved, but—after 1956—all she wrote.—Ted Hughes, from the Introduction