Collected Poems

Collected Poems

by Mark Strand
     
 

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Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award

Gathered here is a half century’s magnificent work by the former poet laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner whose haunting and exemplary style has influenced an entire generation of American poets.

Beginning with the limited-edition volume Sleeping with One Eye Open, published in 1964,

Overview

Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award

Gathered here is a half century’s magnificent work by the former poet laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner whose haunting and exemplary style has influenced an entire generation of American poets.

Beginning with the limited-edition volume Sleeping with One Eye Open, published in 1964, Mark Strand was hailed as a poet of piercing originality and elegance, and in the ensuing decades he has not swerved from his vision of how a poem should be shaped and what it should deliver. As he entered the middle period of his career, with volumes such as The Continuous Life (1990), Strand was already well-known for his ability to capture the subtle music of consciousness, and for creating painterly physical landscapes that could answer to the inner self: “And here the dark infinitive to feel, / Which would endure and have the earth be still / And the star-strewn night pour down the mountains / Into the hissing fields and silent towns.” In his later work, from Blizzard of One (1998) which won the Pulitzer Prize, through the sly, provocative riddles of his recent Almost Invisible (2012), Strand has delighted in reminding us that there is no poet quite like him for a dose of dark wit that turns out to be deep wisdom and self-deprecation. He has given voice to our collective imagination with a grandeur and comic honesty worthy of his great Knopf forebear Wallace Stevens. With this volume, we celebrate his canonical work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/15/2014
“The secret voice of being telling us/ that where we disappear is where we are,” is written in the confident, inviting, yet almost “always mournful, always sad” voice Strand has sustained for 50 years, in blank verse, chiseled stanzas, and compact prose poems. Nothingness, the void; solipsism, the lure of the mirror; blank otherness, as seen in the moon and the seashore—these simple symbols predominate in oeuvre most influential in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when its stripped-down lyrics and asides matched a national trend. Later, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and 1999 Pulitzer Prize–winner leavened the bleakness with avuncular jokes, extended meditative passages, and comical alter egos. Now based in Madrid and teaching at Columbia University, Strand enjoys wide respect among poetry’s institutions. First-time readers may be surprised at the short length of the volume, which is Strand’s first collected edition, but they may also find it absorbing in its focus on first and last things. For all the streamlined sadness of his dreamlike domain, Strand remains aware of other poets, which is particularly evident in his homages, translations, and elegies. His recent string of short sardonic prose poems are all quite distinct from one another, but all are instantly, recognizably Strand, “erasing the world and leaving instead/ The invisible lines of its calling: Out there, out there.” (Oct.)
From the Publisher
One of The Boston Globe's best books of 2014

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385352512
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
539,431
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

Mark Strand, born in 1934, was the author of many books of poems, a book of stories, and three volumes of translations, and was the editor of several anthologies. He received many honors and awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Pulitzer Prize (for Blizzard of One), the Bollingen Prize, and the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990, he was appointed poet laureate of the United States. He died in 2014.

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