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Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003

Overview

Since the 1965 publication of her first book, Dream Barker, selected for the Yale Younger Poets Award, Jean Valentine has published eight collections of poetry to critical acclaim. Spare and intensely-felt, Valentine's poems present experience as only imperfectly graspable. This volume gathers together all of Valentine's published poems and includes a new collection, Door in the Mountain.

Valentine's poetry is as recognizable as the slant truth of a dream. She is a brave, ...

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Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003

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Overview

Since the 1965 publication of her first book, Dream Barker, selected for the Yale Younger Poets Award, Jean Valentine has published eight collections of poetry to critical acclaim. Spare and intensely-felt, Valentine's poems present experience as only imperfectly graspable. This volume gathers together all of Valentine's published poems and includes a new collection, Door in the Mountain.

Valentine's poetry is as recognizable as the slant truth of a dream. She is a brave, unshirking poet who speaks with fire on the great subjects—love, and death, and the soul. Her images—strange, canny visions of the unknown self—clang with the authenticity of real experience. This is an urgent art that wants to heal what it touches, a poetry that wants to tell, intimately, the whole life.

Winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Short, jagged works exhibit a primal fierceness while longer works tell straightforward stories about companionship and disappointment in this very mixed survey. Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets award in 1965 for a first collection (Dream Barker) whose gloomy rhymed visions suggested Lowell and Plath: "I am thrown open like a child's damp hand/ In sleep. You turn your back in sleep, unmanned." Like many other poets in those years, Valentine abandoned her early forms for a more direct free verse, suited to mysticism, to personal turmoil and to political protest: "slowly our exploding time/ gives off its lives." Valentine grew even more direct, and much more discursive, in the late '70s; if her middle period now seems very much of its era, the last decade has shown-and this solid volume confirms-a return to her strengths. The defiant, angular, yet propulsively emotional recent poems that occupy the first and last parts of the book should please both fans of Valentine's earliest poetry and fans of her strongly feminist middle period: subjects range from the nature of the soul to an obstetric fistula, a woman's prison, an emblematic scarab and an embryo "her head still floating/ listening listening/ to the Real Life." (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Valentine's winning the National Book Award proved to readers everywhere what the cognoscenti have known all along: this poet is one of the best at work in America today. Beautifully precise-as in music, there's as much here in the silence as there is in the sound-and radiant with the pain of being in the world, this collection offers us a remarkable career. (LJ 11/15/05) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Fine as the early work is, it is the later books, The River at the Wolf, Growing Darkness, Growing Light, and The Cradle of the Real Life that keep me returning to this extraordinary poet whose voice is like no other. These poems, which are a piece with the new work, are utterly compelling and original.” —Harvard Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819567123
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 11/26/2004
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 308
  • Sales rank: 1,325,204
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

JEAN VALENTINE won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Author of seven other books of poetry, including most recently Growing Darkness, Growing Light (1997) and The River at Wolf (1992), she has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Graduate Writing Program at NYU, and the 92nd Street Y. Valentine received the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America in 2000 and the 2006 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award given by the American of Letters to "a progressive, original, and experimental writer."
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Read an Excerpt

Annunciation

I saw my soul become flesh breaking open
the linseed oil breaking over the paper
running down pouring
No one to catch it my life breaking open
No one to contain it my
pelvis thinning out into God

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Table of Contents

NEW POEMS
Annunciation
In our child house
Nine
The girl
Mother
Eighteen
"She Sang"
A Bone Standing Up
The Hawthorn Robin Mends with Thorns
Out in a sailboat
I came to you
Cousin
The Very Bad Horse
Once
So many secrets
Eleventh Brother
Once in the nights
Under the gold
The Windows
Go Clear
The Coin
October morning
I heard my left hand
In the evening
We cut the new day
Occurrence of White
How have I hurt you?
Do flies remember us
You drew my head
The little faintly blue clay eggs
Happiness (3)
Letter
I could never let go
The Basket House
The House and the World
In your eyes
Woman Leaving
Trim my hoofs
Two Poems for Matthew Shepard
The Blue Dory the Soul
The Rally
The Growing Christ of Tzintzuntzan
Sheep
To the Bardo
Rodney Dying (4)
Door in the Mountain
Monarch butterfly
My old body
Inkwell daybreak
The path between
The Night Sea
The Shirt
One Foot in the Dark
A weed green
Fears: Night Cabin so wild
I have lived in your face
A goldfinch in the rain
The grain of the wood
The push or fly
I would be
Avalon
Do you remember?
Advent Calendar
We didn't know each other
Touch with your finger
Noon in the Line Outside
Inside
Your number is lifting off my hand
The Needle North
The Passing
In the Burning Air
Little house
Notes

DREAM BARKER (1965)
First Love
For a Woman Dead at Thirty
Miles from Home
To Salter's Point
Lines in Dejection
Sleeps Drops Its Nets
Dejà-vu
Sunset at Wellfleet
Asleep over Lines from Willa Cather
Cambridge by Night
To a Friend
Waiting
Sasha and the Poet
The Second Dream
A Bride's Hours
Afterbirth
Sarah's Christening Day
Tired of London
Cabridge April 27 1957
New York April 27 1962
September 1963
Riverside
For Teed
My Grandmother's Watch
The Beast with Two Backs
The Little Flower
Sex
Adam and Eve: Poem on Folded Paper
Dream Barker
To My Soul

PILGRIMS (1969)j
The Couples
Fireside
Solomon
In the Museum
By the Boat Pond
The Summer House
Woods
Her dream: the child
Orpheus and Eurydice
Goodbye
Separation
Thinking about Cain
Dearest
April
Broken-down Girl
Bin Dream West College East D-11
Bin Dream #2 Interview with Stravinksy
Death House
Archangel
Half an Hour
Visiting Day at School
The Child Jung
Coltrane Syeeda's Song Flute
Photograph of Delmore Schwartz
The Torn-down Building
Moon Man
The Child and the Terrorist The Terrorist and the Child
Night
Pilgrims

ORDINARY THINGS (1974)
After Elegies
'Autumn Day'
He said
Forces
Kin
Anesthesia
After Elegies (2)
3 A.M. in New York
Space
Letter from a Country Room
A Child's Death
Revolution
Three Voices One Night in the Community Kitchen
The Knife
Seeing L'Atalante
"Twenty Days' Journey" by Huub Oosterhuis and translated from the Dutch with Judith Herzberg
This Hate
This Minute
Couvre-Feu: after Paul Eluard
Fidelities
Susan's Photographs
Ouside the Frame
Forces (2): Song
Notes

THE MESSENGER (1979)
Beka 14
Dufy Postcard
The Field
Living Together
Here Now
The Forgiveness Dream: Man from the Warsaw Ghetto
Turn
Prayer in Fever
Working
Silences: A Dream of Governments
After Elegies (3)
The Messenger - Two Translations - Huub Oosterhuis: Orpheus
Osip Mandelstam: 394 - Solitudes - December 21st
Sanctuary
What Happened
Turn (2): After Years
The Burden of Memory
February 9th
"Love and Work": Freud Dying
Letter from a Stranger
"Actuarial File"
Lines from a Story
March 21st
Notes

HOME.DEEP.BLUE (1989)
Willi Home
To Raphael angel of happy meeting
Primitive Painting: Liberation Day
Awake This Summer
Mandelstam
The Drinker's Wife Writes Back
Birthday Letter from South Carolina
The Counselor Retires and Then He Dies
Juliana
Visit
Snow Landscape in a Glass Glode
Everything Starts with a Letter
About Love
Little Song in Indian Summer
The King
High School Boyfriend
Tonight I Can Write...
Trust Me

THE RIVER AT WOLF (1992)
X
Spring and Its Flowers
The Summer Was Not Long Enough
Still Life for Matisse
Still Life: in the Epidemic
Ikon
The Year of the Snake
The One You Wanted to Be Is the One You Are
Ironwood
Bud
To a Young Poet
Foraging
Alfred and the Abortion
Redemption
Seeing You
The Free Abandonment Blues
The First Station
Night Lake
The Badlands Said
The Missouri Speaks
The River at Wolf
The Ring
Barrie's Dream the Wild Geese
Fox Glacier
Lindis Pass Borage
By the Tekapo River 100 Degrees
After Consciousness of This Big Form
Everyone Was Drunk
In Fear (1)
In Fear (2)
In This Egg
The Under Voice
Come Akhmatova
James Wright: in Memory
Wish-Mother
At Cullen's Island
The Wisdom Gravy
American River Sky Alcohol Father
The Morning of My Mother's Death
The Night of My Mother's Death
Second Mother
The Sea of Serenity
My Mother's Body My Professor My Bower
Butane
At My Mother's Grave
We Go Through Our Mother' sThings
Death Asphodel
To the Memory of David Kalstone
The First Angel
At the Door
Yield Everything Force Nothing
Alone Alive
Flower
Skate
Guardian Angel in New York
To Plath to Sexton
The Power Table

GROWING DARKNESS GROWING LIGHT (1997)
Rain
Sick Away from Home
Friend
Homesick
New Life
Bees
The Tractors
River Jordan
Night Porch
World-light
Snow Family
To the Black Madonna of Chartres
Tell Me What Is the Soul
Mastectomy
Secret Room Danger House
Red for Blood
Yellow for Gold
Green for the Land
Black for the People
Home
Long Irish Summer Day
Dog Skin coat
Fellini in Purgatory
Elegy for Jane Kenyon
You Are Not One in a Sequence
Alcohol
Where Do you Look for Me?
Documentary: AIDS Support Group
Poem with Words by Thornton Dial
A Bit of Rice
The Night Wally's Service Wally said
Rodney Dying
Rodney Dying (2)
Father Lynch Returns from the Dead
Mother and Child Body and Soul
Soul
Soul (2)
The Mother Dreams
Fistula
Soul (3)
Open Heart
Listening

THE CRADLE OF THE REAL LIFE (2000)
The Pen
Elegy for Jane Kenyon (2)
Black Wolf
Mother Bones
They lead me
Your mouth "appeared to me"
Mare and Newborn Foal
Truth
October Premonition
Rodney Dying (3)
November
Labrador
1945
Leaving
Running for a train
The Welsh poet
Radio: Poetry Reading NPR
The Tower Roof
For a Woman Dead at Thirty (2)
The Blind Stirring of Love
Little Map
The Drinker
The Drinker (2)
Happiness
Happiness (2)
The I Ching
He leaves them:
Away from you
Child
Her Lost Book
Index of Titles and First Lines

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What Poetry Is Best Known For

    This is one of the most concise yet heartfelt books of poetry I've ever come across. To read poetry in which each word does so many things is a wonderful experience. It also lends her a power of mood and tropes and themes that cut to the chase with amazing speed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What Poetry Is Best Known For

    This is one of the most concise yet heartfelt books of poetry I've ever come across. To read poetry in which each word does so many things is a wonderful experience. It also lends her a power of mood and tropes and themes that cut to the chase with amazing speed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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