Commonwealth of Wings: An Ornithological Biography Based on the Life of John James Audubon / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 87%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $7.50   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2006

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

1991 Paperback Brand new ( never opened )-ships immediately 819511935. Wesleyan Poetry; 0.26 x 8.42 x 5.52 Inches; 72 pages; A combination of poetry, nature writing, and ... biography in one book-length "persona-poem. "Combining the best of poetry, nature writing, and biography, Pamela Alexander in her book-length "pe. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Northbrook, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Combining the best of poetry, nature writing, a biography, Pamela Alexander in her book-length “persona poem” brings to life John James Audubon and a world not yet aware of nature’s limits. She distills the essence of this remarkable naturalistic-artist and gives him voice to tell his life story in fragments and letters, journal entries, actual vignettes, and lyrical passages. Captivating, and accessible, her poem reads with the authority of autobiography, the dramatic coherence of a novel, and the evocative clarity of an Audubon print. The reader, briefly transported to the natural world of America a century and a half ago, cannot help but contrast its condition today and feel a poignant sense of loss.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on biographies, journals and letters, Alexander Navigable Waterways has fashioned a moving poetic account of the early 19th-century naturalist and artist. She takes us through Audubon's life, from the loss of his natural mother in Haiti, to his childhood in France amid the tumult of the Revolution, his unsuccessful business ventures in this country, his commitment to painting ``all the Birds of America, / in the size of nature,'' and his journey to Europe in search of patrons and publishers. The poems are in Audubon's voice, and Alexander does a remarkable job of maintaining a consistent tone, but one that evolves naturally with the age of her subject. Alexander's language has an uncomplicated, lyrical quality that evokes the naturalist's love of nature's organic simplicity. Away from his wife for years at a time, Audubon wrote to her often. In ``Letter to Lucy,'' he writes, ``thy presence moves in my mind like a shy bird / that flies before me, bush to bush.'' Imagining himself a bird in the masterful ``Air,'' he sees ``thousands of gannets / surging upward, wings of the closest striking my face, / and I rise, momentarily, with them.'' May
Library Journal
Audubon was a naturalist, an ornithologist, and an adventurer: ``I am a collection of landscapes.'' Despite the title, these poems do not intend to stand as a biography. Alexander brings a touch of the poet to his story, playing fast and loose with the facts. She is quick to note that ``many of the incidents and thoughts in the poems are fictional; others are inventions around a bare fact,'' and some are assembled from letters, journals, and such, recast in her own language. Audubon's was a curious life, but he enjoyed the world. Often we get the sense in these poems of that quiet, lovely America that Audubon knew. Alexander is sensitive to the details that matter. The artist and scientist is real in these lines, but one senses that much is missing. What we have, though, is considerable. --Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
From the Publisher
“Employs the fiction writer’s narrative strategies, the poet’s music, and the autobiographer’s intimacy . . . a linguistically inventive and emotionally compelling portrait”—Robin Becker, Prairie Schooner
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819511935
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 72
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Meet the Author

PAMELA ALEXANDER won the Yale Younger Poet award in 1984 for Navigable Waterways (1985) and has published poems in the New Yorker and Atlantic. After writing short persona poems on Amelia Earhardt and Howard Hughes, she says, “I had an urge to write longer poems about unusual people.” Her interest in Audubon dates in part from childhood, when her mother, a veteran birder, “talked to me about ecology decades before the word was commonly used.” She currently teaches in the Writing Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)