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Halfway Down The Hall

Overview

Rachel Hadas brings an acute perception and a rich education to her exquisitely crafted poetry. As James Merrill wrote, Hadas's "honeyed words and bracing forms . . . over and over bring the mind to its senses." Rooted in the domestic and illuminated by Hadas's lifelong engagement with classics, the poems gathered here, many in traditional forms, draw out the relationships between life, love, time and art. This collection will be welcomed by all who love Hadas's strongly etched ...

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Overview

Rachel Hadas brings an acute perception and a rich education to her exquisitely crafted poetry. As James Merrill wrote, Hadas's "honeyed words and bracing forms . . . over and over bring the mind to its senses." Rooted in the domestic and illuminated by Hadas's lifelong engagement with classics, the poems gathered here, many in traditional forms, draw out the relationships between life, love, time and art. This collection will be welcomed by all who love Hadas's strongly etched lines and passionate intelligence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hadas has brought together gems from her previous 11 books and prefaced them with 33 new poems, providing her readers with a delightful retrospective celebration of her work…Throughout, Hadas deftly balances her abilities as a highly cerebral verbal artisan with strong, down-to-earth doses of womanly wisdom and insight. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Though my preference is for/ an utterance that aims at more--/ a single splendid edifice,/ not an untidy humble nest...both are made of the same stuff,/ our ever-raveling human cloth." Starting with the torn, fragmentary images of her first collection, Starting from Troy, Hadas' interest in classical literature and translation is reflected throughout this choice from her 12 books, having developed from an emblem of the ruinous to an ability to balance memory and self-composure. With A Son from Sleep, Hadas' concerns shift with the advent of motherhood, exploring the constituent elements of sound and language as formed by children's private codes: "Ock for clock. And Ock is also hot." Her descriptions of domestic life avoid sentimentality precisely because they emerge from such sparse examinations. The collection's most recent work is its most powerful achievement, summoning a prophetic intensity that nonetheless stays close to the ground: "I must keep to my path and my path only--/ closing our cars to thunder and cicadas,/ closing our eyes to all those trembling branches,/ meekly turning our backs on opalescence,/ on the jewels of potential transformation,/ getting ready to go back down the mountain." As in the simple, moving elegy, "Searching the Scriptures," where the poet finds the Bible of a deceased friend, and with it an underscored passage of Christ's apocalyptic pronouncements, Hadas treads carefully the path between "the old prophetic strain" and "life's sheer dailiness."
Library Journal
Exquisite, polished, cerebral, and yet filled with womanly, workaday reflections, Hadas's work reminds us that poetry is both celebration and a craft to be honed carefully. This book pulls together the best of 11 collections plus 33 new poems, all of which shine. (LJ 9/15/98)
Joel Brouwer
...Hadas stakes a small claim for art's place in our lives....witty, elegant poems... -- The Progressive
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819522511
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1998
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Hadas is Professor of English at Rutgers University. Her books include Indelible (2001), Living in Time (1990), Pass It On (1989), The Empty Bed (1995), A Son from Sleep (1987), and Slow Transparency (1983).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Rag Rug 3
Last Trip to Greece 5
The Slip 8
Still Life in Garden 9
Pomology 10
Riverside Park 11
The Peacock in the Garden 12
Fleshly Answers 13
A Gust 14
Mayday at the Frick 15
Shells 17
The Blue Bead 18
The Red Hat 20
Mom and Dad 21
Idolatry Brood 23
The Myth of a Happy Childhood 24
Greek Gold 26
Stress 29
The Oyster Grain 31
On Myth 34
On That Mountain 37
The Hermit 38
The Poles 44
Along Edges 45
Searching the Scriptures 47
Performances, Assortments 49
At The Tempest 51
Winged Words 53
Halfway Down the Hall 56
Auguries 59
Falcon 60
Twelfth Birthday 62
Mutability 63
The Fall of Troy 67
Sappho, Keats 68
Super Nivem 69
Daddy 70
That Time, This Place 71
Alien Corn 75
Black Light 76
Flying Home 78
Wish Granted 79
Triptych 80
Making Sense of Salt Water 81
Five Disguises 82
Pantoum on Pumpkin Hill 84
Codex Minor 89
In Lieu of a Lullaby 91
Lying Under a Quilt 93
Ode on His Sleep 95
Two and One 97
How Can I Put You Down? 103
Sunday Morning 104
I Lean My Ladder 105
Hortus Conclusus 106
Pass It On, I 110
Pass It On, II 111
Teaching Emily Dickinson 113
Pass It On, III 114
Teaching the Iliad 116
Generations 117
First Night Back 121
Three Silences 124
The End of Summer 126
Nourishment 127
Water and Fire 131
Incubation 132
In the Hammock 135
Moments of Summer 136
Always Afternoon 137
Love and Need 138
Taking Sides 143
Elegy Variations 144
The Revenant 147
Less Than Kind 148
October 150
Laments 151
Fin de Siecle 153
The Sleeping Beauty 154
On Poetry 159
City and Country 162
Expression 166
In the Middle 168
A Copy of Ariel 169
Learning to Talk 171
Roadblock 172
Genealogies 173
Adde merum vinoque ... 179
Boaz Asleep 183
Voyage to Cythera 187
The Swan 189
The Voice 191
The Seven Old Men 192
Aurora 194
Pomegranates 197
Spirochaeta Pallida 198
Preveza 199
Chorus from Euripides's Helen 200
Alternatives 205
Spring 206
Chiasmus 207
Benefit Night, New York City Ballet 208
The Last Movie 210
The Wolf in the Bed 212
Upon My Mother's Death 213
May 215
Recoveries 216
Peculiar Sanctity 220
The Hinge 222
Song 224
Arguments of Silence 225
Lullaby II 228
Mars and Venus 229
Four Lives, Stirring 231
The Red House 233
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