Going out with Peacocks and Other Poems

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A warm, funny, and eloquent collection of poems by the celebrated author of Always Coming Home and The Language of the Night.
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Overview

A warm, funny, and eloquent collection of poems by the celebrated author of Always Coming Home and The Language of the Night.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Our foremost woman of letters in fantasy and science fiction here undertakes an album of gracious verse. ``Fire, Water, Earth, Breath,'' the first section in this collection of 54 poems, offers a ``bright flood'' of imagery about ``the Pacific Slope'' (i.e., Portland, Oregon), while ``Fury and Sorrow'' presents hard-bitten poems about child pornography, domestic abuse, torture, and other grim topical subjects. (``Werewomen,'' a poem about the strange urges of ``women in their sixties,'' is wonderful.) Poems in ``Kith and Kind'' explore domestic issues, and the last section, ``Dancing on the Sun,'' which is dreamlike and imaginative, urges the reader to accept the transformation of ordinary concerns into ``difficult, painful dances'' that lead to spiritual revelation: ``you have to leap/higher and higher into the dark,/until you somersault to sleep.'' This lonely, half-mysterious, intellectual collection is another jewel in the crown of a leading fantasy-science fiction writer. For public libraries with a large Le Guin readership.-Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060950576
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Ursula K.  Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin's first story was rejected by Amazing Stories -- back when she was 11 years old. Since then, Le Guin has become one of science fiction's most critically acclaimed authors, as well as a versatile writer of poetry, children's books, essays, and nonfiction.

Biography

Speculative fiction, magic realism, "slipstream" fiction -- all these terms could apply to the works of Ursula K. Le Guin. Unfortunately, none was in common use when she started writing in the early 1960s. As a young writer, Le Guin weathered seven years of rejections from editors who praised her novels' elegant prose but were puzzled by their content. At a time when the only literary fiction was realistic fiction, as Le Guin later told an interviewer for The Register-Guard in Portland, Oregon, "There just wasn't a pigeonhole for what I write."

At long last, two of her stories were accepted for publication, one at a literary journal and one at a science-fiction magazine. The literary journal paid her in copies of the journal; the science-fiction magazine paid $30. She told The Register-Guard, "I thought: 'Oooohhh! They'll call what I write science fiction, will they? And they'll pay me for it? Well, here we go!' "

Le Guin continued to write and publish stories, but her breakthrough success came with the publication of The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969. The novel, which tells of a human ambassador's encounters with the gender-changing inhabitants of a distant planet, was unusual for science fiction in that it owed more to anthropology and sociology than to the hard sciences of physics or biology. The book was lauded for its intellectual and psychological depth, as well as for its fascinating premise. "What got to me was the quality of the story-telling," wrote Frank Herbert, the author of Dune. "She's taken the mythology, psychology -- the entire creative surround -- and woven it into a jewel of a story."

Since then, Le Guin has published many novels, several volumes of short stories, and numerous poems, essays, translations, and children's books. She's won an arm's-length list of awards, including both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, and a National Book Award for The Farthest Shore. Over the years, she has created and sustained two fictional universes, populating each with dozens of characters and stories. The first universe, Ekumen, more or less fits into the science-fiction mode, with its aliens and interplanetary travel; the second, Earthsea, is a fantasy world, complete with wizards and dragons. As Margaret Atwood wrote in The New York Review of Books, "Either one would have been sufficient to establish Le Guin's reputation as a mistress of its genre; both together make one suspect that the writer has the benefit of arcane drugs or creative double-jointedness or ambidexterity."

More impressive still is the way Le Guin's books have garnered such tremendous crossover appeal. Unlike many writers of science fiction, she is regularly reviewed in mainstream publications, where her work has been praised by the likes of John Updike and Harold Bloom. But then, Le Guin has never fit comfortably into a single genre. As she said in a Science Fiction Weekly interview, "I know that I'm always called 'the sci-fi writer.' Everybody wants to stick me into that one box, while I really live in several boxes. It's probably hurt the sales of my realistic books like Searoad, because it tended to get stuck into science fiction, where browsing readers that didn't read science fiction would never see it."

Le Guin has also published a translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, a book that has influenced her life and writing since she was a teenager; she has translated fiction by Angelica Gorodischer and a volume of poems by Gabriela Mistral; and, perhaps most gratifyingly for her fans, she has returned to the imaginary realm of Earthsea. Tehanu, which appeared in 1990, was subtitled "The Last Book of Earthsea," but Le Guin found she had more to tell, and she continued with Tales from Earthsea and The Other Wind. "I thought after 'Tehanu' the story was finished, but I was wrong," she told Salon interviewer Faith L. Justice. "I've learned never to say 'never.' "

Good To Know

The "K" in Ursula K. Le Guin stands for Le Guin's maiden name, Kroeber. Her father was the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber; her mother, the writer Theodora Kroeber, is best known for the biography Ishi in Two Worlds.

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    1. Hometown:
      Portland, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 21, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkeley, California
    1. Education:
      B.A., Radcliffe College; M.A., Columbia University, 1952
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Last of August 3
Cabin 4, Cedarwood Lodge 3
Drouth 4
March in Beloit 5
The Pacific Slope 6
In the Siskiyous in May 7
Keeping Rocks 8
Looking for Proxy Falls 9
Consider 10
Sleeping with Cats 11
From Lorenzo 12
Gulls Puddling: January 13
Buzzard Visit 14
Praying to Ecola Creek 15
Mouth of the Klamath 16
Sun Setting at Cannon Beach 17
Riding the "Coast Starlight" 21
Processing Words 22
Marilyn 23
In That Desert 24
The Hands of Torturers 25
Werewomen 26
Cry No More 28
Her Silent Daughter 30
Sentence 32
Phoenicians 34
The Vigil for Ben Linder 36
Fragments from the Women's Writing 39
A True Story 47
The Book to Have 48
Dreaming California 50
For Judith 51
The Years 52
The Woman and the Soul 53
The Queen of Spain 56
My Hero 58
Puye: An Anasazi Village 59
Concerning Theo 60
Song for Caroline 61
Song for Elisabeth 62
Going Out With Peacocks 67
Bale's Mill in the Napa Valley 68
"Sunt lacrimae rerum" 70
My Music 71
A Painting 72
Semen 73
The Red Dancers 74
Ariadne Dreams 76
Waking: Two Poems 77
Getting On 78
To the Next Guests 79
A Discourse on Method 80
What I Have 81
The Hard Dancing 82
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