Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003 by Jean Valentine, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003

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

by Jean Valentine
     
 

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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

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.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819567123
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
11/26/2004
Series:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)

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

What People are saying about this

Adrienne Rich
“This is a poetry of the highest order, because it lets us into spaces and meanings we couldn't approach in any other way... The known and familiar become one with the mysterious and half-wild, at the place where consciousness and the subliminal meet... In all her work, most astonishingly in this new book, Jean Valentine offers us the danger and depth of the ordinary, and we shiver with recognition and relief.”
Fanny Howe
“I wholeheartedly endorse this book. ...It is acrobatically glorious, this collection, unparalleled in its commitment to balancing the unspoken with the spoken. To read it is fully pleasurable and easy and at the same time difficult, because each poem springs from the head of Wisdom.”

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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