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The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems
     

The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems

4.6 5
by Robert Hass
 

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The Apple Trees at Olema includes work from Robert Hass's first five books&mdash:Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, Sun Under Wood, and Time and Materials—as well as a substantial gathering of new poems, including a suite of elegies, a series of poems in the form of notebook musings on the nature of storytelling, a suite of summer lyrics, and two

Overview

The Apple Trees at Olema includes work from Robert Hass's first five books&mdash:Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, Sun Under Wood, and Time and Materials—as well as a substantial gathering of new poems, including a suite of elegies, a series of poems in the form of notebook musings on the nature of storytelling, a suite of summer lyrics, and two experiments in pure narrative that meditate on personal relations in a violent world and read like small, luminous novellas.

From the beginning, his poems have seemed entirely his own: a complex hybrid of the lyric line, with an unwavering fidelity to human and nonhuman nature, and formal variety and surprise, and a syntax capable of thinking through difficult things in ways that are both perfectly ordinary and really unusual. Over the years, he has added to these qualities a range and a formal restlessness that seem to come from a skeptical turn of mind, an acute sense of the artifice of the poem and of the complexity of the world of lived experience that a poem tries to apprehend.

Hass's work is grounded in the beauty of the physical world. His familiar landscapes—San Francisco, the northern California coast, the Sierra high country—are vividly alive in his work. His themes include art, the natural world, desire, family life, the life between lovers, the violence of history, and the power and inherent limitations of language. He is a poet who is trying to say, as fully as he can, what it is like to be alive in his place and time. His style—formed in part by American modernism, in part by his long apprenticeship as a translator of the Japanese haiku masters and Czeslaw Milosz—combines intimacy of address, a quick intelligence, a virtuosic skill with long sentences, intense sensual vividness, and a light touch. It has made him immensely readable and his work widely admired.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hass's first retrospective allows us to trace the development of the narrative voice he began cultivating most powerfully with 1979's Praise. Who can forget their first reading of “Meditation at Lagunitas,” in which Hass tells us we call it longing “because desire is full/ of endless distances”? The new poems show Hass at the height of his narrative powers, as in “Some of David's Story,” where the dissolution of a loving relationship is told to us in brief anecdotes by David himself. Recent poems from Time and Materials ask direct, bird's-eye view questions: “What is to be done with our species? Because/ We know we're going to die, to be submitted to that tingling of atoms once again.” Hass's work derives its strength from how it challenges both breath and line. Few are the poems in which Hass doesn't push his breath, and ours, almost to the point of breaking. He tries to get every word he can into each line, every detail he can into each poem, as though, if these feats are possible, then it's also possible to save some part of the world from dissolution. (Apr.)
Washington Post
“Hass’s achievement is often nothing less than splendid. . . . Conscious of language and its limitations, the tug-of-war between mind and body, Hass’s newest work still manages to wholeheartedly engage with the world around him . . . a generous gift for any reader.”
Booklist
“[A] lustrous retrospective collection...Hass distills experiences down to their essence as he limns landscapes, portrays friends and loved ones, and imagines the struggles of strangers. The ordinary is cracked open to reveal metaphysical riddles in poems that feel so natural, their formal complexities nearly elude our detection.”
New York Times Book Review
“A milestone in what is generally regarded as one of the more successful careers in contemporary American poetry...Reading a good Hass poem...is like watching a painter whose brush strokes are so reassuringly steady you hardly notice how much complex and unsettling depth has been added to the canvas.”
Christian Science Monitor
“THE APPLE TREES AT OLEMA...masterly conveys the beauty and fragility of the physical world....earthy yet illuminating, complex yet clear-eyed....The result is poetry that seems to breathe, inhaling softly in some cases, exhaling sharply in others.”
Steven Ratiner
At the outset—and, I suspect at the core even still—Robert Hass is a poet of praise: praise for the beauty of the natural world, for the long unfolding of our human story. ("Praise" was even the title of one of Hass's early collections.) But he is a modern man, engaged with the philosophical, aesthetic and political turmoil of our times. The Apple Trees at Olema offers new poems and a generous sampling of five published collections, and his achievement is often nothing less than splendid.
—The Washington Post
David Orr
…a milestone in what is generally regarded as one of the more successful careers…in contemporary American poetry…And indeed, the best work here is terrific…Hass's greatest strength as a poet…is his equanimity, a quality that sets him apart from peers who rely on a sense of imbalance. That imbalance can register as pressure (that is, the language of the poem may seem inadequate to the task it's asked to perform), or it can involve deliberate disjunctions in voice, tone, syntax and so forth. Reading a good Hass poem, though, is like watching a painter whose brush strokes are so reassuringly steady you hardly notice how much complex and unsettling depth has been added to the canvas.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061923821
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/23/2010
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Hass was born in San Francisco in 1941. He attended St. Mary's College and Stanford University. His books of poetry include Time and Materials, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and the National Book Award in 2008; Sun Under Wood, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1996; Human Wishes; Praise, for which he received the William Carlos Williams Award in 1979; and Field Guide, which was selected by Stanley Kunitz for the Yale Younger Poets Series. Hass also worked with Czeslaw Milosz to translate a dozen volumes of Milosz's poetry, including the book-length Treatise on Poetry and, most recently, A Second Space. His translations of the Japanese haiku masters have been collected in The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa. His books of essays include Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1984, and Now and Then: The Poet's Choice Columns, 1997-2000. From 1995 to 1997 he served as poet laureate of the United States. He lives in northern California with his wife, the poet Brenda Hillman, and teaches English at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What whaaaat?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grins. Hello there Skysong! How are you?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tired....*yawns*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago