Selected Poems


James Wright - 2005
    Speaking in the unique lyrical voice that he called his "Ohioan," Wright created poems of immense sympathy for sociey's alienated and outcast figures and also of ardent wonder at the restorative power of nature.Selected Poems fills a significant gap in Wright's bibliography: that of an accessible, carefully chosen collection to satisfy both longtime readers and those just discovering his work. Edited and with an introduction by Wright's widow, Anne, and his close friend the poet Robert Bly, who also wrote an introduction, Selected Poems is a personal, deeply considered collection of work with pieces chosen from all of Wright's books. It is an overdue--and timely--new view of a poet whose life and work encompassed the extremes of American life.

Life Studies


Robert Lowell - 1959
    Most critics (including Helen Vendler, Steven Gould Axelrod, Adam Kirsch, and others) consider it one of Lowell's most important books, and the Academy of American Poets named it one of their Groundbreaking Books. Helen Vendler called Life Studies Lowell's "most original book." It won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1960.

Selected Poems of Charles Olson


Charles Olson - 1993
    I had finally no advice but the long held habit of our using one another, during his life, to act as a measure, a bearing, an unabashed response to what either might write or say."—Robert CreeleyA seminal figure in post-World War II literature, Charles Olson has helped define the postmodern sensibility. His poetry embraces themes of empowering love, political responsibility, the wisdom of dreams, the intellect as a unit of energy, the restoration of the archaic, and the transformation of consciousness—all carried in a voice both intimate and grand, American and timeless, impassioned and coolly demanding.In this selection of some 70 poems, Robert Creeley has sought to present a personal reading of Charles Olson's decisive and inimitable work—"unequivocal instances of his genius"—over the many years of their friendship.

Poems, 1968-1972


Denise Levertov - 1987
    Testifying to Levertov's growing strength and technical mastery as a poet, Poems 1968-1972 also affirms the clarity of her vision in its resistance to the Vietnam War and its "opposition to the whole system of insane greed of which war is only the inevitable expression."The third retrospective volume of her poetry to be published to date by New Directions, Poems 1968-1972 carries forward the record of Denise Levertov's remarkable poetic development from Collected Earlier Poems 1940-1960 and Poems 1960-1967.

Morning Haiku


Sonia Sanchez - 2010
    In her verses, we hear the sounds of Max Roach "exploding in the universe," the "blue hallelujahs" of the Philadelphia Murals, and the voice of Odetta "thundering out of the earth." Sanchez sings the praises of contemporaries whose poetic alchemy turns "words into gems": Maya Angelou, Richard Long, and Toni Morrison. And she pays homage to peace workers and civil rights activists from Rosa Parks and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm to Brother Damu, founder of the National Black Environmental Justice Network. Often arranged in strings of twelve or more, the haiku flow one into the other in a steady song of commemoration. Sometimes deceptively simple, her lyrics hold a very powerful load of emotion and meaning.There are intimate verses here for family and friends, verses of profound loss and silence, of courage and resilience. Sanchez is innovative, composing haiku in new forms, including a section of moving two-line poems that reflect on the long wake of 9/11. In a brief and personal opening essay, the poet explains her deep appreciation for haiku as an art form. With its touching portraits and by turns uplifting and heartbreaking lyrics, Morning Haiku contains some of Sanchez's freshest, most poignant work.

Ezra Pound: Poems


Ezra Pound - 1983
    In this series, a contemporary poet advocates a poet of the past or present whom they have particularly admired. By their selection of verses and by the personal and critical reactions they express, the selectors offer intriguing insight into their own work, as well as providing an introduction to some of the most influential poets of our time.Ezra Pound was born in 1885 in Hailey, Idaho. He came to Europe in 1908 and settled in London, where he became a central figure in the literary and artistic world, befriended by Yeats and a supporter of Eliot and Joyce, among others. In 1920 he moved to Paris, and later to Rapallo in Italy. During the Second World War he made a series of propagandist broadcasts over Radio Rome, for which he was later tried in the United States and subsequently committed to a hospital for the insane. After thirteen years, he was released and returned to Italy, dying in Venice in 1972.Thom Gunn was born in 1929 and educated at Cambridge University. He had his first collection of poems, Fighting Terms, published while still an undergraduate. He moved to North California in 1954 and has lived there ever since, teaching in American Universities. His latest collection is Boss Cupid (2000).

Up to Speed


Rae Armantrout - 2004
    The poems in this book are polyphonic: they juxtapose the discourses of science and religion, Hollywood and the occasional psychotic stranger. The title poem, which appears in Best American Poetry 2002, leads off with a "sphinx" asking "Does a road / run its whole length / at once? / Does a creature / curve to meet / itself?" Armantrout's work, with its careful syntax bordering on plain speech and meticulously scored short lines, is always struggling with the problem of consciousness, its blindspots and double-binds. The poems whirl like shifting and scattered pieces of the present moment. They attempt to "make sense" of our lives while acknowledging the depth of our self-deception and deception.

The Bean Eaters


Gwendolyn Brooks - 1950
    

Quilting: Poems 1987-1990


Lucille Clifton - 1991
    Hers is poetry of birth, death, children, community, history, sexuality and spirituality, and she addresses these themes with passion, humor, anger and spiritual awe.

Bicycles


Nikki Giovanni - 2009
    Controversial, revolutionary, ethereal, or illuminating, her poems about race, Black lives, violence, gender, and family move readers of all ages and backgrounds.With BICYCLES, she’s collected poems that serve as a companion to her 1997 LOVE POEMS. An instant classic, that book--romantic, bold, and erotic--expressed notions of love in ways that were delightfully unexpected. In the years that followed, Giovanni experienced losses both public and private. A mother’s passing, a sister’s, too. A massacre on the campus at which she teaches. And just when it seemed life was spinning out of control, Giovanni rediscovered love--what she calls the antidote. Here romantic love--and all its manifestations, the physical touch, the emotional pull, the hungry heart--is distilled as never before by one of our most talented poets. In a time of national crisis or personal crisis, this is a collection that will open minds and change hearts as only the best art can.

The Best American Poetry 2013


Denise Duhamel - 2013
    This year, guest editor Denise Duhamel brings her wit and enthusiasm and her commitment to poetry in all its wide variety to bear on her choices for The Best American Poetry 2013. These acts of imagination—from known stars and exciting newcomers—testify to the vitality of an art form that continues to endure and flourish, defying dour predictions of its demise, in the digital age. This edition of the most important poetry anthology in the United States opens with David Lehman’s incisive “state of the art” essay and Denise Duhamel’s engagingly candid discussion of the seventy-five poems that made her final cut.

Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved


Gregory Orr - 2005
    . . mystical, carnal, reflective, wry.”—San Francisco ReviewThis book-length sequence of ecstatic, visionary lyrics recalls Rumi in its search for the beloved and its passionate belief in the healing qualities of art and beauty.Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved is an incantatory celebration of the “Book,” an imaginary and self-gathering anthology of all the lyrics—both poems and songs—ever written. Each poem highlights a distinct aspect of the human condition, and together the poems explore love, loss, restoration, the beauty of the world, the beauty of the beloved, and the mystery of poetry. The purpose and power of the Book is to help us live by reconnecting us to the world and to our emotional lives.I put the beloved In a wooden coffin. The fire ate his body; The flames devoured her. I put the beloved In a poem or song. Tucked it between Two pages of the Book. How bright the flames. All of me burning, All of me on fire And still whole.There is nothing quite like this book—an “active anthology” in the best sense—where individuals find the poems and songs that will sustain them. Or the poems find them.Gregory Orr is the author of eight books of poetry, four volumes of criticism, and a memoir. He has received numerous awards for his work, most recently the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Orr has taught at the University of Virginia since 1975 and was, for many years, the poetry editor of The Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives with his family in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hemming the Water


Yona Harvey - 2013
    Here the spiritual and the secular comingle in a "Fierce fragmentation, lonely tune." Harvey inhabits, challenges, and explores the many facets of the female self--as daughter, mother, sister, wife, and artist. Every page is rich with Harvey's rapturous music.

What Work Is


Philip Levine - 1991
    These proletarian heroes, with names like Lonnie, Loo, Sweet Pea, and Packy, work the furnaces, forges, slag heaps, assembly lines, and loading docks at places with unglamorous names like Brass Craft or Feinberg and Breslin’s First-Rate Plumbing and Plating. Only Studs Terkel’s Working approaches the pathos and beauty of this book. But Levine’s characters are also significant for their inner lives, not merely their jobs. They are unusually artistic, living ‘at the borders of dreams.’ One reads The Tempest ‘slowly to himself’; another ponders a diagonal chalk line drawn by his teacher to suggest a triangle, the roof of a barn, or the mysterious separation of ‘the dark from the dark.’ What Work Is ranks as a major work by a major poet . . . very accessible and utterly American in tone and language.” —Daniel L. Guillory, Library Journal

Hum


Jamaal May - 2013
    Grit, trial, and song thrum through tight syntax and deft prosody. From the resilient pulse of an abandoned machine to the sinuous lament of origami animals, here is the ever-changing hum that vibrates through us all, connecting one mind to the next.