Echoes

Overview

In his new collection of poems, Robert Creeley continues to explore the limits and resonances, public and personal, of age. Indeed, the title itself, Echoes, recurs throughout his poetry of the last two decades. Thus "Sonnets" speaks out against the waste of human violence and dogmatism ("Come round again the banal/belligerence almost a/flatulent echo of times"), while the book's closing sequence, "Roman Sketchbook," contemplates with wit and affection the measure of one's literal body in echoing time and place. ...
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Overview

In his new collection of poems, Robert Creeley continues to explore the limits and resonances, public and personal, of age. Indeed, the title itself, Echoes, recurs throughout his poetry of the last two decades. Thus "Sonnets" speaks out against the waste of human violence and dogmatism ("Come round again the banal/belligerence almost a/flatulent echo of times"), while the book's closing sequence, "Roman Sketchbook," contemplates with wit and affection the measure of one's literal body in echoing time and place. Creeley as ever articulates the givens of life, its daily fact and possibility, with careful, concise invention. What wind's echo, uplifted spirit? Archaic feelings flood the body. Ah! accomplished.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fittingly, Creeley's Windows new collection is prefaced by the Coleridge poem ``Frost at Midnight,'' in which the speaker celebrates ``This populous village! . . . the numberless goings on of life.'' Creeley's home in this cacophony is, first and foremost, language; and with his proclivity towards condensation, he brings his ruminations on aging, mortality and memory into focus. Creeley is not so much concerned with material particulars but with the mind's sense of particularity, the minute echoes that clamor for attention in a consciousness unprepared. But for all of his complexity, the poet's responses to his own sense of aging are surprisingly witty, lyrical and grounded: ``Dogs barked. Rabits ran. / It comes to such end, / friend.'' Two longer poems buttress the otherwise epigraphic, crystallized work that makes up much of the collection. The first is ``Sonnets,'' which contrasts the external human landscape of violence with a more internal one. The second is ``Roman Sketchbook,'' which closes the collection--a ``confident traveler'' wanders the streets of Rome exploring the relationship between the internal and external. For all the ``echoes'' in the collection, the reader may begin to wonder if there is a unified ``intent'' at work, but Creeley is one step ahead of us, inserting a little note midway through the book: ``So I am not finally . . . even thinking to persuade the reader of some conviction I myself hold dear. I am trying to practice an art.'' With this ``authority'' in mind, Echoes succeeds beautifully. Apr.
Library Journal
In his half-century of writing poems, Creeley has proven consistently that if contemplated intensely enough, any simple thing can grow complex. The shell game we call perception becomes far more important than anything it shows or hides, and the boundary between object and what evidences its existence grows ever finer. Creeley's latest collection continues to probe that line, particularly the sense that what we see echoes what we think. Midway through he interrupts himself to warn us that any intended ``coherence or determining purpose...seems now absent.'' Not true, since the poems' very spareness and sheer density of abstraction indicate a single, underlying subject so integral that neither articulation of it nor escape from it seems possible. A stenographer of consciousness, Creeley uses shorthand to catch the ``shreds of emptying presence'' that are the lives we mean to assume. His encryptions of frustration and widening amazement are often thin contradictory braids, maddeningly ungenerous or seemingly simplistic. Yet they echo back what we invest in them and will risk whatever we will. For most collections.-Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
Booknews
In an age of hyperbole, Creeley has built a great poetry of unpretentious intellect and unaffected emotion. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811212632
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Pages: 113
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.33 (h) x 0.59 (d)

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