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Collected Poems, 1952-1999

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Overview


This important collection of poems, which spans a career of nearly fifty years, demonstrates Robert Mezey's development as a notable stylist, thinker, and poet. Moving from adaptations of Latin and Spanish poems to prayers and lamentations, from elegies and plaints of lost love to flights of comic and ribald fancy, his poetry reaches to the extremes of human experience. The death of friends and family, one's self-betrayals and self-infatuations, the comical confusion of a worried mother, the art of a doomed ...
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Overview


This important collection of poems, which spans a career of nearly fifty years, demonstrates Robert Mezey's development as a notable stylist, thinker, and poet. Moving from adaptations of Latin and Spanish poems to prayers and lamentations, from elegies and plaints of lost love to flights of comic and ribald fancy, his poetry reaches to the extremes of human experience. The death of friends and family, one's self-betrayals and self-infatuations, the comical confusion of a worried mother, the art of a doomed Jewish child in a Nazi concentration camp—all these human dramas play out bravely against the backdrop of the beautiful, indifferent path. Mezey can portray aging and death or sing of love and nature with an accuracy of perception and an intensity of feeling heightened by formal clarity and restraint. With his razor-sharp eye for the singular detail, he describes missed opportunities and moments of human weakness and loss in gestures so real the reader will ache. In capturing the pain of religious doubt, the pangs of tenderness and elation, and the vagaries of fate so honestly, Mezey has wrought a high finish to each poem so that, in the words of Donald Justice, they become "absolute classics of calm and beauty."
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In whatever formal more he has worked, from free verse to the most limited schematic patterns, Mezey has always revealed a mastery of the relation between deep and surface rhythms of language and thought, and an unyielding poetic integrity that is itself like a beacon against a darkening literary horizon."—John Hollander
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557286123
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 1,377,322
  • Product dimensions: 0.73 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert Mezey has lived in Claremont, California for many years, where he is an emeritus professor at Pomona College. Lamont Prize–winning author of The Lovemaker (1960), Mezey has edited a number of books, including recent editions of Hardy and Robinson, and his poems and translations have appeared in many anthologies.
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Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Dedication xv
from the Lovemaker
The Funeral Home 3
A Bedtime Story 4
Dream of Departure 6
The Killing 7
A Coffee House Lecture 8
Corinna in Vendome 10
Dream of an Invitation 11
On a Theme of Sappho's 12
Dark Head 13
Epitaph of a Faithful Man 14
The Lovemaker 15
Late Winter Birthday 16
To a Friend on the Day of Atonement 17
Vetus Flamma 18
The Wandering Jew 19
Interlude: The Ballad of Charles Starkweather 25
White Blossoms
Neither descendant nor lucky ancestor 33
The End of an Outing 34
After Hours 35
You Could Say 36
A Note She Might Have Left 37
No Country You Remember 38
The Friendship 40
Night on Clinton 43
The Next Thing Is Always About to Happen 45
Back 46
In a Little Park in Fresno 47
Looking 48
Reaching the Horizon 50
The doe standing poised 52
The Cat 53
There 54
Murderer's Wine 55
My Mother 58
A Confession 60
The Underground Gardens 61
Touch It 63
White Blossoms 64
The Mercy of Sorrow after Uri Zvi Greenberg
The Hour 67
Joy 68
With My God, the Smith 69
Like a Girl 70
The Great Sad One 71
On the Equator 72
There Is a Box 73
How It Is 74
The Valley of Men 75
On the Pole 76
The Door Standing Open
At the Point 79
How Much Longer? 80
Terezin 82
Nolan 84
California Farewell 85
A Prayer in His Sickness 87
Going for a Walk at Night 88
Going to Heaven 90
Pisces' Car Song 91
There Goes Gatten 93
Poem 94
New Year's Eve in Solitude 95
One Summer 97
In the Soul Hour 98
I Am Here 99
In This Life 103
An Evening 105
Watching the Invisible 106
Song 107
I Am Beginning to Hear 108
Interlude: Prose and Cons 109
Small Song
To a Minor Poet of the Anthology 119
The Fields of the Dead 120
Looking into the Fire 122
Small Song 123
On the Burning Coast 124
Four-Part Psalm 125
Twilight under Pine Ridge 127
Good Fortune by Black Mountain 128
To Be a Giant 129
Last Days in Salt Lake City 130
Unsent Letter to Luis Salinas 131
The Silence 132
One of You 133
Trying to Begin 134
The Stream Flowing 135
An Old Story 137
Before and After Love 139
N. W. 140
Ill Lit Blues 141
A Way of Saying Goodbye 142
Words 143
Mercy 144
Of the Power of Thought 145
Interlude: Clerihews and Other Sports
Clerihews 149
Eurocentric Rag 152
Tailgaters 153
Greetings 154
Glosses and Variations
Her Sparrow 157
Jerry's Stretch 158
All in the Family 159
Ancient Epigrams 160
My Stars 162
Jerusalem 163
Graves 164
On Her Portrait 165
Lament for Jonathan 166
David Sings before Saul 167
The Grave 168
Julio Campal 169
To the Likeness of a Captain in Cromwell's Armies 170
Ballad of the Stranger 171
Einar Tambarskelver 173
Johnny Raftery 174
The Golem 175
Paris, 1856 178
To a Forgotten Poet of 1935 179
A Rose and Milton 180
Not So Simple 181
The Meaning of Soup 182
Requiem 183
Odysseus 187
I Saw 188
Gauguin 189
from Lines for the Death of My Aunt Daniela 194
Couplets 205
Some Occasional Poems
A Joyful Noise 235
Last Words 237
Joe Simpson 240
April Fourth 241
Breathing You 243
On the Retirement of the Scholar, Thomas Pinney 244
A Retirement Poem for Dick Barnes 246
Edgar 247
A Prayer for the Eighth Day 248
Interlude: More Clerihews 249
Evening Wind and Other Poems
Evening Wind 257
No Way 258
Fragments of an Endless Ghazal 259
Slow Sonnet 261
Lais Dedicates to Aphrodite the Tools of Her Trade 262
Chin Music 263
To the Americans 265
The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words: A Cento 268
To My Friends in the Art 272
One-Rime Dream 273
After Ten Years 274
Spring Evening by Walnut Creek 275
From a Sketchbook: Fragments and Epigrams 276
Owl 280
A Serious Note 281
Hardy 284
Tea Dance at the Nautilus Hotel (1925) 285
Variation on a Theme 287
Notes 291
Index of Titles and First Lines 297
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    some good, some bad

    There is no doubt of Mezey's expertise in poetry. He has edited the definitive editions of both Thomas Hardy's and E.A. Robinson's work. And the man knows more about poetry than most people. But I found his own work to be uneven. The Collected Poems contains some good poetry, and as a whole it is an enjoyable read. But there were sections of the book that didn't seem up to par with the rest. I especially found the clerihews, couplets, and 'prose and cons' to be weak, and they invaded (a little) some of the other sections. Light verse is a joy to read, and a valuable form of poetry, but it seemed to me that Mezey didn't take them serious enough (no pun intended) to make them come off successful. But the first half of the collection I found to be really good. Mezey's Collected Poems is, overall, a good collection, and one worth reading.

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