Overview

Like an underground river, the astonishing poems of Joseph Ceravolo have nurtured American poetry for fifty years, a presence deeply felt but largely invisible. Collected Poems offers the first full portrait of Ceravolo’s aesthetic trajectory, bringing to light the highly original voice that was operating at an increasing remove from the currents of the time. From a poetics associated with Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery to an ever more contemplative, deeply visionary poetics similar in sensibility to Zen and ...
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Collected Poems

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Overview

Like an underground river, the astonishing poems of Joseph Ceravolo have nurtured American poetry for fifty years, a presence deeply felt but largely invisible. Collected Poems offers the first full portrait of Ceravolo’s aesthetic trajectory, bringing to light the highly original voice that was operating at an increasing remove from the currents of the time. From a poetics associated with Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery to an ever more contemplative, deeply visionary poetics similar in sensibility to Zen and Dante, William Blake and St. John of the Cross, this collection shows how Ceravolo’s poetry takes on a direct, quiet lyricism: intensely dedicated to the natural and spiritual life of the individual. As Ron Silliman notes, Ceravolo’s later work reveals him to be “one of the most emotionally open, vulnerable and self-knowing poets of his generation.” Many new pieces, including the masterful long poem “The Hellgate,” are published here for the first time. This volume is a landmark edition for American poetry, and includes an introduction by David Lehman.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“We’re getting nervous and shaky just thinking about it–unless that’s the overcoffee–no, no, it’s all due to the forthcoming Collected Poems…”—Harriet, the Poetry Foundation Blog

“‘The overlooked genius of American poetry,’ as David Lethem states in the introduction, Ceravolo (1934–88) emerges from the opening poems of his first book, Fits of Dawn (1965), as speech churns sound and meaning goes ’round and ’round—‘Mounting!/ O dive! song song restay fairness of/ dawn. That cry of/ booze that sparrow/ of soul ‘miradel’/ unique justly lotus/ nothingless char of sunday./ Vicious of moon for the actual./ Live digress.’ His first-ever collected; essential.”—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“Fascinating, unwieldy, and sometimes sublime, this first collected for the New Jersey–based Ceravolo (1934-88) reveals a poet wilder—and potentially far more popular—than the one all but a few strong admirers know.…This big book will spark new interest; it might even attract fans of Rumi, or of the Beats.”—Publishers Weekly

“Ceravolo transcends the canon…(his) verse is at once classical and fresh, tender and profound, succinct and expansive, tantalizingly parseable yet divinely ineffable. It would take a lifetime of expert reading to fully appreciate this lifetime of superlative writing; with the long-awaited publication of a collected Ceravolo, America’s contemporary poetry readers now have the opportunity to do their part.”—Seth Abramson, Huffington Post

Library Journal
"The overlooked genius of American poetry," as David Lethem states in the introduction, Ceravolo (1934–88) emerges from the opening poems of his first book, Fits of Dawn (1965), as speech churns sound and meaning goes 'round and 'round—"Mounting!/ O dive! song song restay fairness of/ dawn. That cry of/ booze that sparrow/ of soul 'miradel'/ unique justly lotus/ nothingless char of sunday./ Vicious of moon for the actual./ Live digress." His first-ever collected; essential.—AP
Publishers Weekly
Fascinating, unwieldy, and sometimes sublime, this first collected for the New Jersey–based Ceravolo (1934-88) reveals a poet wilder—and potentially far more popular—than the one all but a few strong admirers know. A friend of the New York School poets whose work (especially that of Ted Berrigan) his early writings resemble, Ceravolo came into his own with Spring in This World of Poor Mutts (1969), where modernist dislocations receded in favor of childlike wonder at children, weather, buildings, and sex: “Daytime is not a brain,/ Living is not a cricket’s song./ Why does light diffuse/ As earth turns away from the sun?” Ceravolo’s many odes, prayers and exclamations seem very in tune with the late 1960s, yet also in touch with a timeless, excited mysticism: “Now I see that love/ is the only clarity I feared.” Ceravolo continued in these exalted modes through the exciting—and long obscure—Millenium Dust (1982) and into the massive, previously unpublished Mad Angels, where his impatience, and lack of an audience, can seem all too primitive, really naive: “Soothe me, O spirit!/ in the intestines of creation/ until I breathe right, sing right.” This big book will spark new interest; it might even attract fans of Rumi, or of the Beats. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819573421
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 1/23/2012
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 596
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

JOSEPH CERAVOLO (1934–1988) was a poet and civil engineer who was born in Astoria, Queens, and lived in New Jersey. He was the author of six books of poetry and won the first Frank O’Hara Award. ROSEMARY CERAVOLO is an artist, novelist, and art critic. She lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey. PARKER SMATHERS is a poet and editor at Wesleyan University Press. DAVID LEHMAN is a poet and the series editor for The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at The New School.
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Table of Contents

TRANSMITIGATION SOLO (1960–1965)
Preface
Lost Words
Life of Freedom
Sleep in Park
Descending the Slope
Feast of Visions
Floating Gardens
The Women
Lights of Childhood
Romance of Awakening
Invisible Autumn
Metaphorical Desert
Celebration
O Heart Uncovered
His Universe Eyes
Pain Songs
Migratory Noon
Contrast
Dinosaurs of Pain
Frozen Lookout
Stolen Away
Starting Up Again
White Sky
Chains of Mountains
Resting
Pastoral
Transmigration Solo
In Full View of Sappho
Spell of Eternity
Note from St. Francis
“WATER: HOW WEATHER FEELS THE COTTON HOTELS”
FITS OF DAWN (1965)
Introduction
BOOK I
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
BOOK II
Part 1
Part 2
BOOK III
“The green lake is awake . . .”
The Crocus turn of the gods
A story from the Bushmen
“SEA LEVEL”
WILD FLOWERS OUT OF GAS (1967)
Rain
White Fish in Reeds
In the Desert
The Wind Is Blowing West
Indian Suffering
Warmth
A Song of Autumn
Funny Day
Spring of Work Storm
Autumn-Time, Wind and the Planet Pluto
A Story in Winter
The Plant Is Growing
End
Drunken Winter
Skies
Is It Impossible to Know Where the Impulse Has Originated?
Not a Baby
Wild Provoke of the Endurance Sky
Dangers of the Journey to the Happy Land
In My Crib
Don’t Break It
Spring
Happiness in the Trees
The Book of Wild Flowers
SPRING IN THIS WORLD OF POOR MUTTS (1968)
It Is Morning
Caught in the Swamp
After the Rain
Dusk
Heart Feels the Water
Lighthouse
May
Cool Breeze
Ocean
In the Grass
Ho Ho Ho Caribou
Red Sun
Fill and Illumined
Noise Outside
Winter Song
When the First Tree Blossoms
Passivation
Doubts
Before It Is Destroyed
Nothing
Floods
Sculpture
Passion for the Sky
Road of Trials
Pregnant, I Come
Both Close by Me, Both
Spring in This World of Poor Mutts
Data
Autumn Break
Lonely in the Park
Football
Tripod
I Like to Collapse
Down
Soul in Migration
Polar Flower
Orchard
Struggling
Grow
Risk
Fly
Mountains
The Green Lake Is Awake
THE HELLGATE (1969–1975)
Part I—Testament
Part II—Departure
Part III—The Bridge of the Dead
Part VI—Purification
“INTERIOR OF THE POEM” (1979)
INRI (1979)
O Moon
Alone Swollen
Another World
Question Haunting
Birth Day
Vision
Live Today
Perched
Promontory
Bloodsucker
Rampant God
Earth
Trouble
Experience
Hotel
Space Out
Mistake
Apology
No Help
Freedom
Within
Dangerous Journey
Worse Enemy
Not One
Fable
Bad Ass
Mixture
Broken
Layout
Reborn
Futura
Internal Rays
Apocalypse
Awareness
Macro
Rising Sound
Hard or Soft
Lighting Up
Job
The Car
Beyond Phony
Inside
Unable to Move
Pass Me By
Hard Energy
Motion
Stupor
Cuando Amenecer El Sol
Spring Breeze
Sleeping One
Hunting
This Land
Old Friend Hung
The Gods in Me
Future Landscape
Imaginary Styx
Disasters
End of the World
Reality Printed
Marginal Existence
Footing
Continuum
If I Can’t
River Flooded
The Forest Wetness
Non-spacial
Runs Me Over
Flight
But
To Seed
Manure
A Cave Man’s Dream
Ritual
Basic Heart
The Winds of the Comet
Negative Mountain Peak
Infinite Thunder
Ghost of Spring
MILLENIUM DUST (1982)
WINDS OF THE COMET• Volcano Tears
Bright Sun
Wet Sand
Cross Fire
Savage Nocturne
A Last Song
Spiral
Geological Hymn
Barbaric
The Catskills
Today’s Night
Sleeping by the Rocks
Drunk on the Brain
The Spirit Mercury
Rhythm
White Dwarf
Inside Story
Escape to Atlantis
Winds of the Comet
Survival
Fire of Myself
Body of Earth
Not Afraid of the Dark
Generations of Clouds
Waves Apart
Cooling Galaxy
The Rocket
APOLLO IN THE NIGHT
Storm Breaking Over
Hills
Night Wander
Cold Night Alone
Morning Insults
Conception
Milky Ways
Time on Earth
Instantaneous Takes Time
That’s Where It Is
Projection
Star Song
Earthquake
Voice on My Birthday
Inland
Illuminant before Dawn
Late Birds
Summer Lightning
Perpetual Life
Apollo in the Night
Great Plains
A Railway Stop
Night Birds
MILLENIUM DUST
Longer Trip
Dawn Hunt
Cardinal Conjunction
Sacred and Profane
Ignition of Dawn
Body Weight
Hymn to Earth
Kyrie Eleison
Can’t Sleep
New Realism
Good Friday
Mood
Birth in the Dunes
Shifting Lives
Fever
Tensions
Meadowlands
Gravity Awakening
To Open Regions
Reversals
Unemployment
Full Bloom
Not Really Punishment
Nude Madness
Crazy Death
Park Thoughts
Concealed Wound
Ocean Body
Glass and Steel Structures
The New World
No More People
Brook
Millenium Dust
Montauk
Unfinished Sonnet
Dirty Snow
Tidelands
Final Dimensions
After Image
MAD ANGELS (1976–1988)
1976–1982
Body Jet
Love Eyes
What It’s Like
Espacio
Haunting Ghosts
Rte 3 into N.Y.
Just at the Beginning of Summer
Scope
Words from a Young Father (Leaving Body)
Requiem
April Already
Assimilation in the Streets of This City
Night Ride
“In one day everything’s green . . .”
Holy
Railway Box (Deo Te Salve)
Tongues
“The night gets lonely . . .”
Crazy in the Night
Mayhem
“Taking me away . . .”
Sub-Scape
Signals
Apology
“Tie one on, tie it on . . .”
Supplication
Positive Disintegration
Aurora
Lament #1
Lament #2
Asia
Middle of Winter (off the Hudson)
Dirt
Sunset
“It only takes a machine . . .”
Verses of the Soul Suffering to See God
1983
Rain Forest Ode
Earth So Beautiful
Dominica
Forest Dreams
Over Music
“Hold me light, hold me tight . . .”
To the Death of a Poet
Long Sonnet
“Where have I got time . . .”
City Scape
Double Blind Concerto
Guitar Ode
“The first August day is over . . .”
Sunburn
Linear Ballad
The Amphibian
“Rain cycle, hold my brains . . .”
“I hear the music from below . . .”
It’s Only Glue
Builders or Large Moon Rise
“Here’s a traveler in the womb . . .”
Spirit Matter
Tones
“All winter the . . .”
Night Flash
“Do a little job . . .”
1984
“The squirrel leaping frightens . . .”
“Sunny day with ice . . .”
Fault
Planet Sonnet
Lament No. 3
Forgive
City
Spring Rise
Grand Jury
Indian Song
Release
Jet Resurrection
Mother Land
Above Clouds Above
Legacy
“The pains of children . . .”
“Where am I now? . . .”
Serenade No. 1
Why God Should Know the Gods
War
Silent
“Floating emotions . . .”
“O ancient Rivers . . .”
Pre-Christian
Simple Creation I
“Minor eruptions in the air . . .”
Dead Sea Scrolls
“If I left . . .”
“The migration flaps . . .”
Hermit Gambler
Alive
Woods
Dirty Benediction
Elegy
Toxic Wastes
Autumn Torches
Libera Me
“I lean on my bus . . .”
“How can I disconnect . . .”
Sonnet
Stay
Thanksgiving Day
“O world without light . . .”
Street Wise Romantic
Lament #4
A Piece of Glass
“Happy heart that sows the breeze . . .”
1985
“My intellect seems to breathe . . .”
If You Loved Me
Love Song
“Seagulls are in from the sea . . .”
Pages of Storms
Hungry
“Tile floor, open glass . . .”
Street Journal
“Dried up and dogged . . .”
Unfinished
Century Sonnet
“I’m not weeping and weeping . . .”
Freedom
Hospital
“This is not the place I want to be . . .”
Incantation
Pumping Iron
“‘Du bist in meinen Blut’ . . .”
Reggae-Mine
Courage
Morning Vespers
“9:01 . . .”
Notoriety
“The streets against their stomachs . . .”
Night Strokes
BMX
Forecast
Ignorance Strong
Narrative Night
“On a night in a distant country . . .”
“I am not able to move . . .”
Sonnet
Hidden Bird
Lament #5
Lethal Sonnet
“Closer and closer to the ground . . .”
Rain & Wolves Inhabit Me
All at Once
Life Sentence
“There is no way . . .”
Dragons and Dungeons
Ode Song
Mad Angels
One
The City
Ode
Dream Ode
“Dry leaves, light trees . . .”
Travelin’ Blue Highway
People’s Republic
“Volcano mud covering exquisite bodies . . .”
REAL #1
Marketeers Entwined
The Comet Returns
Litanical
The Muscles of Animals
First Snow
Hymn
1986
New Year
“Where are we headed? . . .”
Melody for Food
Morning Touched
Mid Ocean
Lyric
“Lazy bodies with hidden knives . . .”
Rifle Shot
Winter
Amor & Psyche
Portrait Painter Realistic
Stampeding Visualizations
“Calm me! . . .”
“The Great Lakes are rising . . .”
Darkness Ode
Thoughts
Modern Sorrows
“I walked out. It was raining . . .”
Now
“Turn me around in your hands, O wind! . . .”
“I have a bad day today . . .”
“Looking at beetles and ants . . .”
“Smoke rises like claws that lock me in . . .”
Crescent Moon
Reprieve
“The purple plant, leaves thick . . .”
Hymn to Rain
Bad Thoughts
“I work in a dreamscape of reality . . .”
Characters
Come Clean
Complaint
Someone
Still Life
Morning
“The best time is when the body . . .”
“Song birds . . .”
Nuclear Disaster
“Does loneliness take over the body . . .”
World War II
“Route 3 and lonely . . .”
Mass
Discovery
Angelic Meditation
Week Day
Hand Gun
“Between a rock and a hard place . . .”
“Am I a fool in the temperate sun . . .”
Subway
“Old world, there are roads in front . . .”
“Grind away, trumpet, beat away . . .”
“How could the comet be . . .”
Breeze
Traffic Sonnet
“Under high tension towers . . .”
“Hardly a lightening flies overhead . . .”
Spirit
Blues
Der Wanderer
“My deepness away from you . . .”
“What is a year ending? . . .”
“Overpayment, underpayment, Florida lakes . . .”
Observation
“It is cold, it is cloudy . . .”
1987
“Consecrate the birds . . .”
Winter Sonnet
Hymn
A Child Story
“I saw a red tail hawk . . .”
Mother & Father (Simple)
Hotline for Youth
“As if snow could cleanse . . .”
Subway Walkman
Today’s Benediction
“It’s the quiet that we . . .”
“Tundra and deer, liberty and fear . . .”
Search
Bird
Sun
Notes on the 20th Century Scientist
“‘Crazy nut,’ the girls said . . .”
Sublimation
Unseen Sonnet
A Young Couple
“Morning breaks . . .”
OK
Cat of Eternity
Meditation
“The multitudes betray the fallen city . . .”
Irish Entry
A Call
“Slowly my love . . .”
An Old Testament
Rain Driven
Koyaanisqatsi
To a Dogwood Tree
Beginner Method
“The morning is warm . . .”
Kin Pain
Spark
“Dark inside me every day . . .”
“Take away the hours of creation . . .”
“Tunnels are closed . . .”
Perpetual
“Somewhere between a missile . . .”
“Million dreams, billion nights . . .”
“My arms are heavy and I feel . . .”
“Too many times there is . . .”
“Resurrect, reserve, resound . . .”
December
“Thank the gods for life . . .”
Starvation
“Hidden underground in a frame . . .”
1988
“All the stars will be gone . . .”
Irish Entry
“Swamps and people live in a lake . . .”
“Turn the screw, bang the nail . . .”
“8:27, have a language, that bundles . . .”
“When you can choke off the under- . . .”
“A man listens to music next to me . . .”
“Happy heart that sows the breeze . . .”
“Song birds enter the morning . . .”
“When I think of all the fuckin’ hours . . .”
“When a spirit comes to me . . .”
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