Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999

Overview

With an economy of line and focus on nature that has deep roots in the New England traditions of Thoreau and Robert Frost, Philip Booth writes poetry that evokes crystalline images of sea, woods, and fields and explores the timeless themes of love, uncertainty, and responsibility. With many of Booth's early works now out of print, Lifelines presents a unique opportunity to become reacquainted with one of the major voices in contemporary American poetry.

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Overview

With an economy of line and focus on nature that has deep roots in the New England traditions of Thoreau and Robert Frost, Philip Booth writes poetry that evokes crystalline images of sea, woods, and fields and explores the timeless themes of love, uncertainty, and responsibility. With many of Booth's early works now out of print, Lifelines presents a unique opportunity to become reacquainted with one of the major voices in contemporary American poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Booth (Relations) has spent half a century writing humbly meditative lyrics and quiet, compassionate verse about his life amid the people and sights of coastal Maine. This generous collection offers most of the work from his previous nine books, along with 17 new poems, many of them moving evocations of old age. Booth brings in Maine's ocean, boats, houses, terrain and longtime residents, from lobster traps to "Four straight days/ below zero," to rock-climbers "feeling for handholds... cheek to cold stone," to boat-builders and log-choppers, to the "rip-tide/ paint" in John Marin's canvases "that, flooding,/ tugs at your vitals,/ and is more Maine/ than Maine." Alongside this regionalist agenda come invocations of saintly writers--Thoreau and Chekhov, among others, put in repeat appearances. Booth seeks to be comprehensible to all his readers, and to offer simple wisdom. His aurally careful, short-lined and abstract free verse may remind readers of Robert Creeley, who also aims "to/ say the feeling, its/ present shape." But too often Booth relies on flat, abstracted exhortation, and on oversimplified psychology. In "Cleaning Out the Garage" he resolves "to let go what won't do"; later he "mean[s]... to let light/ fall where it would," "to revise his whole life," "to be alone with/ myself," "to learn with/ myself to be// gentle," "to keep believing in love." (Italics his.) Booth does better when describing ill-fated lives: "Calendar," for example, offers a spare, deeply frightening account of a woman's stroke. If Booth's self-imposed limits hinder his poems for some, the same traits will make him a cherished companion for others, who will enjoy his attempts to make his verse embody compassion and self-restraint--not to mention his sensitive pictures of Maine. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
For many readers, the half-century of poetry collected here will recall Robert Frost--the lines are laconic, reflective, and often informed by Booth's New England background (in this case, Maine). Of course, Booth would not be so admirable if he simply waxed poetic about snow falling from the roof. What makes these poems remarkable is the way he calmly looks life--and death--in the eye and doesn't blink. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140589269
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/1/2000
  • Series: Poets, PenguinSeries Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

The poet Philip Booth (1925 – 2007) was first published in book form by Viking’s legendary editorial advisor Malcolm Cowley in 1950. His numerous books of poetry included Letters from a Distant Land, The Islanders, Weather and Edges, Margins, Available Light, Before Sleep, Relations, Selves, Pairs, and Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950 – 1999. Booth was a fellow of the American Academy of Poets.

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Table of Contents

Lifelines I. from Letter From A Distant Land
Nightsong
First Lesson
Shag
Chart 1203
Storm in a Formal Garden
Letter from a Distant Land

II. from The Islanders
The Second Noon
Was a Man
These Men
The Tower
Sea-Change
The Islanders

III. from Weathers And Edges
The Day of the Tide
Fairy Tale
Cleaning Out the Garage
Denying the Day's Mile
After the Thresher
Deer Isle
Tenants' Harbor

IV. from Margins
Crosstrees
To Chekhov
Lines from an Orchard Once Surveyed by Thoreau
Supposition with Qualification
Thanksgiving
Hard Country
Labrador River

V. from Available Light
Entry
Stove
A Late Spring: Eastport
The Way Tide Comes
Adding It Up
Wear
Dreamscape
A Dream of Russia
How to See Deer
The Incredible Yachts
Prides Crosssing
It Is Being
Ways
Word
Natural History
Graffito
Strip
Lives

VI. from Before Sleep
Not to Tell Lies
Aside from the life
Words for the Room
In this gray depression
Falling Apart
Flinching
Noam was in intensive care
Of Whales and Men: 1864
A Slow Breaker
Recall
His nurse, at bedside
Fog
Nothing is sure
Rates
Generation
The Young
We used to say
Dragging
Durward: setting his trawl
Poem for the Turn of the Century
When the nurse
Calendar
The dark comes down
Ossipee: November
Ord kept asking
Syntax
Nothing is given
Old Man
No matter how I feel
Mary's, After Dinner
Thinking About Hannah Arendt
This Day After Yesterday
Gathering Greens
Lichens
Thoreau Near Home
Tree Nursery
All night the wind
The Valley Road
By self-definition
Eaton's Boatyard
Nothing is more than
Building Her
Nothing answers
Dayrise
Given this day
Before Sleep
The House in the Trees

VII. from Relations
To Think
Growing Up in Kankakee
Public Broadcast
Dreamboat
Procession
A Man in Maine
Small Town
Beyond Equinox
Fire on the Island
Species
Over Antarctica
Stonington
Table
Saying It
After the Rebuilding
Evening
A Two Inch Wave
Relations

VIII. from Selves
Garden
Zeros
Game
Civilities
Fallback
Calling
Heading Out
Rule One
Among Houses
Dark
Directions
Sixty
Seeing
Words Made from Letters
Marches
Provisions
Thanksgiving
Presence

IX. from Pairs
First Night
Requiescat: Western Union
Navigation
Prepositions
Looking
Places Without Names
Backcountry
Pairs
Talk About Walking
Linesquall
Terms
Hope
Half-Life
Outlook
Hand
Alba
Sixty-three
Chances
Reawakening in New England
Fog-Talk
Seventy

X. Lifelines
Long Afternoons in Dakota
Lifetimes
Hot 5th of July
Views
Late Wakings
Recallings
The Man Who Lost His Wife
An Old Airman Who Knows Who He Was
Coming To
Writing It Down
Ageless Minutes
Identification
Within
Narrow Road, Presidents' Day
Reach Road: In Medias Res
Again, the Solstice
Passage Without Rites

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