In the Western Night: Collected Poems, 1965-1990


In the Western Night brings together in one volume all of the poems to date, including many previously unpublished poems, of one of the most exciting and gifted poets writing today.

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In the Western Night brings together in one volume all of the poems to date, including many previously unpublished poems, of one of the most exciting and gifted poets writing today.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In resourcefully inventive poems, Bidart confronts head-on the insoluble problems of being: the thirst for meaning, the fathomless abyss of death, the polarities of good and evil. Dramatic monologues wrest feverish, luminous meditations out of an anorectic, hospitalized poet (``Ellen West''), a sociopathic rapist/killer (``Herbert White'') and a creative artist grappling with guilt, insanity, Nietzsche and the search for an authentic self (``The War of Vaslav Nijinsky''). Bidart also draws on wrenching autobiographical incident, Christian tradition, Western philosophy. ``Golden State'' evokes the anger, love and confusion occasioned by the death of his alcoholic father. A poet who believes the poem embodies ``the mind in action,'' he synthesizes the flexibility of Pound's Cantos , Robert Lowell's sense of argument with the past, and Hart Crane's collage-like structuring into a distinctive, sharp-edged voice raised to an intense pitch. (May)
Library Journal
These intense, often disturbing poems are not for the faint-hearted. To read them is to be both discomforted and fascinated by Bidart's subject matter: the lives of a bulimic and an amputee, Nijinsky's insanity, the loss of friends and lovers, and the poet's own childhood, blighted by parental alcoholism and neglect. Bidart employs a strong narrative voice and a liberal use of typographic conceits (italics, ellipses, capitalized words, idiosyncratic punctuation), which adds a distinctive polyphonic texture to the poems. These are dramatic monologs for the late 20th century, full of anger, pain, and cynicism. As the poet writes, ``I hate and love. Ignorant fish/who even wants the fly while writhing.'' It is the tension between bipolarities of emotion that give these poems their forceful energy. Recommended for collections of contemporary poetry.-- Christine Stenstrom, New York Law Sch. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374522711
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/28/1991
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 613,947
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Bidart's collections of poetry include Star Dust (FSG, 2005), Desire (FSG, 1997), and In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-90 (FSG, 1990). He has won many prizes, including the 2007 Bollingen Prize in American Poetry.

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Table of Contents

In the Western Night (1990)
To the Dead 3
Dark Night 5
In the Western Night 7
Poem in the Stanza of the "Rubaiyat" 12
In the Ruins 13
Guilty of Dust 14
The Sacrifice (1983)
The War of Vaslav Nijinsky 21
For Mary Ann Youngren 50
Catullus: Odi et amo 52
Confessional 53
The Sacrifice 75
Genesis 1-2:4 77
The Book of the Body (1977)
The Arc 85
Happy Birthday 94
Elegy 96
The Book of the Body 106
Ellen West 109
Golden State (1973)
Part 1
Herbert White 127
Self-Portrait, 1969 132
Part 2
California Plush 135
Book of Life 144
Golden State 149
Part 3
Vergil Aeneid 1.1-33 167
After Catullus 169
To My Father 170
Another Life 171
The First Hour of the Night (1990)
Now In Your Hand 177
You remain 179
By These Waters 180
Long and Short Lines 181
Book of Night 182
The First Hour of the Night 183
An Interview--With Mark Halliday 223
Notes 243
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