Always a Reckoning, and Other Poems

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Overview

In this moving, wide-ranging, and intensely personal collection of poems - his first - President Jimmy Carter opens to us his very private and reflective world. Always a Reckoning is sparked with wry and sometimes bitter humor, warmed with tenderness, and glowing with an intense and passionate caring that is born of an awareness both political and sensual. The final days of a cherished hunting companion. A cortege of leather-clad motorbikers mourning a gentle and courageous woman. The death of a father and the ...
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Overview

In this moving, wide-ranging, and intensely personal collection of poems - his first - President Jimmy Carter opens to us his very private and reflective world. Always a Reckoning is sparked with wry and sometimes bitter humor, warmed with tenderness, and glowing with an intense and passionate caring that is born of an awareness both political and sensual. The final days of a cherished hunting companion. A cortege of leather-clad motorbikers mourning a gentle and courageous woman. The death of a father and the memories of his son. An old and proud black woman teaching a young boy the art of fishing and the art of life. A heartwarming tribute to his wife, Rosalynn, whose smile "still makes the birds forget to sing/and me to hear them." A newly fledged politician trying to change the ways of a small and stubborn town. It is in images such as these that we see President Carter's belief that it is poetry that teaches the writer "art is best derived from artless things." And it is the knowledge and awareness acquired long ago that there is "always a reckoning," that everything in life must be in balance - in art, in politics, in friendship - which permeates this book. Illustrated by President Carter's granddaughter, Always a Reckoning is a collection that will touch, amuse, surprise, and delight its readers.

The first collection of poetry by former President Jimmy Carter, who shares here his private memories about his childhood, his family and political life, with illustrations by his granddaughter. Always a Reckoning sets a precedent since no other president has published a book of poetry. Gift packaged with ribbon marker. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to charity.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
If Jimmy Stewart can publish a book of poems, so can former President Carter. These reflections on Carter's childhood, family, and political life are illustrated by his granddaughter.
Ray Olson
Jimmy Carter's publisher is braver than Jimmy Stewart's. When the actor's verses came out some years back, review copies were not sent in any form. Times, though nervous enough not to send advance galleys, did submit the finished book of the ex-president's verse. A handsome little thing it is, presenting 44 humble yet competent enough poems, each illustrated with a drawing by Carter's granddaughter. Disposed in four groups thematically entitled "People," "Places," "Politics," and "Private Lives," the 44 are about half lightly nostalgic, often keenly evocative, autobiographical narratives and half blunt and simple reflections of his famously charitable political and social convictions. Although Carter is not in the same league in terms of literary skill or philosophical depth, his concerns, his subjects, and his attitudes recall those of Kentucky's great farmer-poet, Wendell Berry. If Carter's book of poems represents vanity publishing on the grand scale--and it does--his poetic persona doesn't sound or seem at all vain.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780783813011
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Series: G. K. Hall Core Ser.
  • Pages: 126
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.65 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter was born in Plains, Georgia, and served as thirty-ninth President of the United States. He and his wife, Rosalynn, founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization that prevents and resolves conflicts, enhances freedom and democracy, and improves health around the world. He is the author of numerous books, including Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, An Hour Before Daylight and Our Endangered Values. He received a "Best Spoken Word" Grammy Award for his recording of Our Endangered Values.

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Table of Contents

Rachel 3
Mister Woodruff and Old Bess 9
The County Boss Explains How It Is 13
A Motorcycling Sister 17
Miss Lillian 19
Miss Lillian Sees Leprosy for the First Time 21
The More Things Change 23
A Committee of Scholars Describe the Future Without Me 25
To One, Now Gone, Who Always Let His Hunting Partner Claim a Downed Bird 27
The Ballad of Tom Gordy 29
The Pasture Gate 33
Plains 37
Of Possum and Fatback 39
Peanuts 43
The Day No One Came to the Peanut Picker 47
Itinerant Songsters Visit our Village 51
The History of a Point 55
A Reflection of Beauty in Washington 59
Flying into Japan and Seeing Mount Fuji Above the Clouds 61
Priorities of Some Mexican Children 63
My First Try for Votes 67
Progress Does Not Always Come Easy 69
A President Expresses Concern on a Visit to Westminster Abbey 71
A Battle Prayer 73
It Can Fool the Sun 75
Hollow Eyes, Bellies, Hearts 77
With Words We Learn to Hate 81
Why We Get Cheaper Tires from Liberia 83
Rosalynn 87
Some Things I Love 89
Difficult Times 91
Always a Reckoning 93
Prosperity Doesn't Suit Everyone 97
I Wanted To Share My Father's World 99
Of My Father's Cancer, and His Dreams 103
A Winter Morning 107
Sport 109
When We Lit the Kerosene Lamps 111
Light Comes in Turkey Country 113
Trout 115
A Contemplation of What Has Been Created, and Why 119
Considering the Void 121
On Using Words 123
Life on a Killer Submarine 125
Index of Titles 127
Index of First Lines 129
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Heartfelt Poems from America's Presidential Nobel Laureate

    I read Jimmy Carter's book of poetry, ALWAYS A RECKONING, with the simple expectation that the poems would be heartfelt and tell stories from his life in plain, down-to-Earth prose. I was stunned to find myself moved to tears with the very first poem, "Rachel," which was dedicated to the memory of the neighbor woman who cared for Jimmy after his folks were gone. In a few short pages, Jimmy had succeeded in describing what was so special about those days with Rachel, and how important she truly was in his young life. Other poems in ALWAYS A RECKONING are laugh-out-loud funny, such as, "Progress Does Not Always Come Easy," which describes the trials and tribulations Jimmy Carter underwent when he successfully passed his first legislation (ensuring that deceased citizens lose their voting rights), which turned out to be quite unpopular in every precinct with a cemetery! ALWAYS A RECKONING is a rare gem of a book that gives readers a sense of the inner beauty of Jimmy Carter's heart and soul.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2001

    A Keepsake

    This is a book to keep, not just read once and put on a shelf. I bought it first as a gift and had a hard time giving it away. It gives the reader an insight into the man Jimmy Carter really is.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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