The River of Heaven

The River of Heaven

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by Garrett Hongo
     
 

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The River of Heaven was awarded the 1987 Lamont Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets for a distinguished second book of poems (judges: Philip Booth, Alfred Corn, Mary Oliver). In it Garrett Hongo has drawn from his unusual background (born in Volcano, Hawaii, of Japanese ancestry, and educated in California at Pomona) to provide the materials for poems…  See more details below

Overview

The River of Heaven was awarded the 1987 Lamont Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets for a distinguished second book of poems (judges: Philip Booth, Alfred Corn, Mary Oliver). In it Garrett Hongo has drawn from his unusual background (born in Volcano, Hawaii, of Japanese ancestry, and educated in California at Pomona) to provide the materials for poems that would be highly exotic were they not infused with a level-headed sense of realism and a strong feeling that mundane realities are perfectly natural material for the poetry of our time. Here, Garrett Hongo transforms his mundane realities into elegant poetry. The volcanoes of Hawaii, the gritty urban streets of Los Angeles, a California beach after the death of his father—the places of Garrett Hongo’s past metamorphose into a poetry that is compelling and immediate.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In its concerns and techniques, Hongo's second bookthe 1987 Lamont Poetry Selectionsuggests comparisons to Wordsworth and Whitman. Combining the former's preoccupation with personal remembrance and the latter's penchant for syntactic repetition and catalogs, Hongo attempts to dazzle the reader with megadoses of imagery both lush (``the harpstring shade of tree ferns'') and frank (``a patch of wild land full of blown garbage''). Sometimes he flirts with excess (``spider lilies and ginger flowers like paper cranes/ furling in the tongues of overgrowth''), but the character studies and first-person narratives that speak of life in nonwhite America attain an authority unobscured by imagistic mannerisms.Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394757858
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/12/1988
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
88
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.31(d)

What People are saying about this

William Matthews
“Garrett Hongo has the poetic skills to match his amplitude of feeling and sympathy, and his The River of Heaven is a wonderful book.”
Maxine Hong Kingston
“I love The River of Heaven for its stories and people. Garrett Hongo searches out those who inhabit alleys, islands, old graveyards, piers, and learns that ‘splendor must be something of what we all want.’ He extends splendor—and the sight and voice and concern of American poetry.”

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River of Heaven 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to be taught by Garrett Hongo as an undergraduate. He is insanely brilliant, conflicted, and well learned. His poetry is so vivid and ten levels above what most people even think about in their finest moments.