All of Us: The Collected Poems

Overview

"Carver's poetry is like an almost invisible strand of fishing line reeling us all together, connecting us by the heart." --San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle

This prodigiously rich collection suggests that Raymond Carver was not only America's finest writer of short fiction, but also one of its most large-hearted and affecting poets.  Like Carver's stories, the more than 300 poems in All of Us are marked by a keen attention to the physical world; an uncanny ability ...

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Overview

"Carver's poetry is like an almost invisible strand of fishing line reeling us all together, connecting us by the heart." --San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle

This prodigiously rich collection suggests that Raymond Carver was not only America's finest writer of short fiction, but also one of its most large-hearted and affecting poets.  Like Carver's stories, the more than 300 poems in All of Us are marked by a keen attention to the physical world; an uncanny ability to compress vast feeling into discreet moments; a voice of conversational intimacy, and an unstinting sympathy.

This complete edition brings together all the poems of Carver's five previous books, from Fires to the posthumously published No Heroics, Please.  It also contains bibliographical and textual notes on individual poems; a chronology of Carver's life and work; and a moving introduction by Carver's widow, the poet Tess Gallagher.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"His eye is so clear, it almost breaks your heart."  -The Washington Post Book World

"The best poems play like short stories in miniature, small heartrending scenes that resonate with telling detail...the lyrical reflections in his poems are as much a part of his formidable legacy as his incomparable stories."  -The Philadelphia Inquirer

David Yezzi
. . .All of Us: The Collected Poems. . .capture[s] in verse much of the same pared narrative power that distinguishes [Carver's] fiction. . . .their willed artlessness and unflincing emotions commend them to us. —The New York Times Book Review
James Lasdun
The cumulative effect is exhilarting. . .all of it infused with a largeness of spirit that adds a new dimension to [our] impression of the man. —Times Literary Supplement
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Carver published three major poetry collections during the five years prior to his death in 1988 at age 50. Edited by University of Hartford professor William Stull, and introduced by Carver's widow, the poet Tess Gallagher, this definitive gathering includes those books as published, the posthumous A New Path to the Waterfall, and numerous appendices of previously uncollected poems, notes and sources, and a brief biography. Like the short stories for which he is better known, Carver's poems piercingly observe characters incarcerated by time and circumstance, but whose dreary lives are occasionally ignited by moments of startling clarity. Reading straight through, one is struck by how many of Carver's poems hang on memory, on near forgotten incidents that flash through the poet's mind and produce his peculiarly weighty vignettes. Although Carver concentrated on the poor, bewildered and addicted -- among whom he counted himself -- readers will notice a marked turn toward the hopeful as they progress. Like the painter of 'The Painter & the Fish,' Carver, toward the end of his life, 'was ready to begin/ again, but he didn't know if one/ canvas could hold it all. Never/ mind. He'd carry it over/ onto another canvas if he had to./ It was all or nothing.' Carver put it all into his canvases, and All of Us does a fine job of presenting them for maximum impact.
Library Journal
Before his untimely death in 1988 at the age of 50, Carver had acquired an enviable reputation as one of America's finest short-story writers. Now, ten years later, Carver's widow Tess Gallagher and editor William L. Stull have collected nearly all of Carver's poetic work into one volume, complete with bibliographic notes and indexes. Carver's poems, with their gritty grace, express the continual astonishment of a man who had rescued himself from alcoholic near-death and penury to achieve acclaim and something like wisdom. His poetry is a kind of idiosyncratic documentary of his memories, reading, and experience: at times, he wrote too much and reserved too little, which could never have been said of his stories, with their stylized and painful silences. At his best, Carver offers profoundly moving meditations on his life, not unlike D.H. Lawrence's unconventional poems: "Don't worry your head about me, my darling./ We weave the thread given to us./ And Spring is with me." For all poetry collections.--Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, MA
James Lasdun
The cumulative effect is exhilarting. . .all of it infused with a largeness of spirit that adds a new dimension to [our] impression of the man. -- Times Literary Supplement, London
Dan De Luca
All of Us marks the 10th anniversary of Carver's death [and] makes clear that the lyrical reflections in his poems are as mucha part of his formidable legacy as his incomparable stories. -- Philadelphia Inquirer
David Yezzi
. . .All of Us: The Collected Poems. . .capture[s] in verse much of the same pared narrative power that distinguishes [Carver's] fiction. . . .their willed artlessness and unflincing emotions commend them to us. -- The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375703805
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 419,760
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond Carver died in 1988.
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Read an Excerpt

So early it's still almost dark out. I'm near the window with coffee, and the usual early morning stuff that passes for thought. When I see the boy and his friend walking up the road to deliver the newspaper. They wear caps and sweaters, and one boy has a bag over his shoulder. They are so happy they aren't saying anything, these boys. I think if they could, they would take each other's arm. It's early in the morning, and they are doing this thing together. They come on, slowly. The sky is taking on light, though the moon still hangs pale over the water. such beauty that for a minute death and ambition, even love, doesn't enter into this. Happiness. It comes on unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really, any early morning talk about it.

IV. TUESDAY Photograph of My Father in His Twenty-Second Year October. Here in this dank, unfamiliar kitchen I study my father's embarrassed young man's face. Sheepish grin, he holds in one hand a string of spiny yellow perch, in the other a bottle of Carlsbad beer. In jeans and denim shirt, he leans against the front fender of a 1934 Ford. He would like to pose bluff and hearty for his posterity, wear his old hat cocked over his ear. All his life my father wanted to be bold. But the eyes give him away, and the hands that limply offer the string of dead perch and the bottle of beer. Father, I love you, yet how can I say thank you, I who can't hold my liquor either, and don't even know the places to fish? You Don't Know What Love Is (an evening with Charles Bukowski) You don't know what love is Bukowski said I'm 51 years old look at me I'm in love with this young broad I got it bad but she's hung up too so it's all right man that's the way it should be I get in their blood and they can't get me out They try everything to get away from me but they all come back in the end They all came back to me except the one I planted I cried over that one but I cried easy in those days Don't let me get onto the hard stuff man I get mean then I could sit here and drink beer with you hippies all night I could drink ten quarts of this beer and nothing it's like water But let me get onto the hard stuff and I'll start throwing people out windows I'll throw anybody out the window I've done it But you don't know what love is You don't know because you've never been in love it's that simple I got this young broad see she's beautiful She calls me Bukowski Bukowski she says in this little voice and I say What But you don't know what love is I'm telling you what it is but you aren't listening There isn't one of you in this room would recognize love if it stepped up and buggered you in the ass I used to think poetry readings were a copout Look I'm 51 years old and I've been around I know they're a copout but I said to myself Bukowski starving is even more of a copout So there you are and nothing is like it should be That fellow what's his name Galway Kinnell I saw his picture in a magazine He has a handsome mug on him but he's a teacher Christ can you imagine But then you're teachers too here I am insulting you already No I haven't heard of him or him either They're all termites Maybe it's ego I don't read much anymore but these people who build reputations on five or six books termites Bukowski she says Why do you listen to classical music all day Can't you hear her saying that Bukowski why do you listen to classical music all day That surprises you doesn't it You wouldn't think a crude bastard like me could listen to classical music all day Brahms Rachmaninoff Bartok Telemann Shit I couldn't write up here Too quiet up here too many trees I like the city that's the place for me I put on my classical music each morning and sit down in front of my typewriter I light a cigar and I smoke it like this see and I say Bukowski you're a lucky man Bukowski you've gone through it all and you're a lucky man and the blue smoke drifts across the table and I look out the window onto Delongpre Avenue and I see people walking up and down the sidewalk and I puff on the cigar like this and then I lay the cigar in the ashtray like this and take a deep breath and I begin to write Bukowski this is the life I say it's good to be poor it's good to have hemorrhoids it's good to be in love But you don't know what it's like You don't know what it's like to be in love If you could see her you'd know what I mean She thought I'd come up here and get laid She just knew it She told me she knew it Shit I'm 51 years old and she's 25 and we're in love and she's jealous Jesus it's beautiful she said she'd claw my eyes out if I came up here and got laid Now that's love for you What do any of you know about it Let me tell you something I've met men in jail who had more style than the people who hang around colleges and go to poetry readings They're bloodsuckers who come to see if the poet's socks are dirty or if he smells under the arms Believe me I won't disappoint em But I want you to remember this there's only one poet in this room tonight only one poet in this town tonight maybe only one real poet in this country tonight and that's me What do any of you know about life What do any of you know about anything Which of you here has been fired from a job or else has beaten up your broad or else has been beaten up by your broad I was fired from Sears and Roebuck five times They'd fire me then hire me back again I was a stockboy for them when I was 35 and then got canned for stealing cookies I know what's it like I've been there I'm 51 years old now and I'm in love This little broad she says Bukowski and I say What and she says I think you're full of shit and I say baby you understand me She's the only broad in the world man or woman I'd take that from But you don't know what love is They all came back to me in the end too every one of em came back except that one I told you about the one I planted We were together seven years We used to drink a lot I see a couple of typers in this room but I don't see any poets I'm not surprised You have to have been in love to write poetry and you don't know what it is to be in love that's your trouble Give me some of that stuff That's right no ice good That's good that's just fine So let's get this show on the road I know what I said but I'll have just one That tastes good Okay then let's go let's get this over with only afterwards don't anyone stand close to an open window Late Fragment And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

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