The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth

Overview

The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth assembles all of his published longer and shorter poems, and includes a never-before-published selection of his earliest work. Rexroth’s poems of nature and protest are remarkable for their erudition and biting social and political commentary; his love poems justly celebrated for their eroticism and depth of feeling.

The cloth edition was one of the most widely reviewed poetry titles in 2003:

“Scholars and critics who endeavor to discuss ...

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Overview

The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth assembles all of his published longer and shorter poems, and includes a never-before-published selection of his earliest work. Rexroth’s poems of nature and protest are remarkable for their erudition and biting social and political commentary; his love poems justly celebrated for their eroticism and depth of feeling.

The cloth edition was one of the most widely reviewed poetry titles in 2003:

“Scholars and critics who endeavor to discuss mid-20th century American poetry responsibly ignore Rexroth at their peril.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review, cover feature and selected as a Book of the Year

“Rexroth is probably best known as the ‘Father of the Beat Generation.’ These poems reveal that great beauty lies beyond that cliché.”—NPR’s All Things Considered

“Rexroth’s prodigious breadth of learning, his hungry attention to the natural world, his contempt for warmongering and his profound, occasionally overlapping love of women are all on flourishing display.”—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Rexroth never mistook his poetry for a product, and he could present ideas and images in an urgent, memorable and eloquent way.”—The Nation

“Rexroth is one of the most readable and rewarding 20th-century American poets.”—Booklist

Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1982) was one of the world’s great literary minds. In addition to being a poet, translator, essayist and teacher, he helped found the San Francisco Poetry Center and influenced generations of readers with his Classics Revisited series.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
This volume, edited by Hamill and Bradford Morrow, is a massive — and, for the most part, massively satisfying — attempt to restore its author to a central position in American literature. At more than 750 pages, it includes, in sequence, all of Rexroth's individual collections, as well as several long-out-of-print older poems and previously unavailable works. — David L. Ulin
Los Angeles Times
A poet of rare depth, range and power... one of a handful of American poets that deserve to be called great.
Publishers Weekly
Born in the Midwest but predominantly known as a founding poet of the San Francisco renaissance, Rexroth (1905-1982) wrote from deep within multiple traditions of world literature, Eastern and Western philosophy, and radical politics. Rexroth published many of his 54 books with New Directions, and while a good number are in print, some editions are more than 30 years old. This volume, scrupulously edited by novelist and poet Morrow (Ariel's Crossing) and poet and Copper Canyon publisher Hammill, brings much disparate and previously uncollected material together chronologically, including Rexroth's brilliant long poem "The Dragon and the Unicorn." The difficulty of assigning Rexroth a comfortable place on syllabi contributes to his current invisibility: some of Rexroth's earliest efforts in verse are cubist-influenced (some were included in Zukofsky's "Objectivist" issue of Poetry magazine), but Rexroth made a decision to make his poetry less opaque relatively early in his career, creating a technique that mixed a classical structure with a romantic sensibility. From "Between Myself and Death": "A fervor parches you sometimes,/ And you hunch over it, silent,/ Cruel, and timid; and sometimes/ You are frightened with wantonness,/ And give me your desperation./ Mostly we lurk in our coverts,/ Protecting our spleens, pretending/ That our bandages are our wounds." Though Rexroth published translations from Greek, French, Chinese, and Japanese (including Japanese women writers, extremely rare for the time), this edition is obliged to exclude them. While a tireless promoter of younger poets and neglected contemporaries, Rexroth is largely remembered as the "father of the Beat generation" (a label he repeatedly rejected as when he told Time magazine, "An entomologist is not a bug"), but he was, and remains, a great poet in his own right. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592171
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 900
  • Sales rank: 734,063
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) was one of the world's great literary minds. In addition to being a poet, translator, essaysist and teacher, he helped found the San Francisco Poetry Center and influenced generations of readers with his Classics Revisted series.

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Read an Excerpt

from "Andrée Rexroth"

Now once more gray mottled buckeye branches
Explode their emerald stars,
And alders smolder in a rosy smoke
Of innumerable buds.
I know that spring again is splendid
As ever, the hidden thrush
As sweetly tongued, the sun as vital
But these are the forest trails we walked together,
These paths, ten years together.
We thought the years would last forever,
They are all gone now, the days
We thought would not come for us are here.
Bright trout poised in the current
The raccoon's track at the water's edge
A bittern booming in the distance
Your ashes scattered on this mountain
Moving seaward on this stream...

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