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Littlefoot

Overview

After the end of something, there comes another end,
This one behind you, and far away.
Only a lifetime can get you to it,
and then just barely.

Littlefoot, the eighteenth book from one of this country's most acclaimed poets, is an extended meditation on mortality, on the narrator's search of the skies for a road map and for last instructions on "the other side of my own ...

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Littlefoot

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Overview

After the end of something, there comes another end,
This one behind you, and far away.
Only a lifetime can get you to it,
and then just barely.

Littlefoot, the eighteenth book from one of this country's most acclaimed poets, is an extended meditation on mortality, on the narrator's search of the skies for a road map and for last instructions on "the other side of my own death." Following the course of one year, the poet's seventieth, we witness the seasons change over his familiar postage stamps of soil, realizing that we are reflected in them, that the true affinity is between writer and subject, human and nature, one becoming the other, as the river is like our blood, "it powers on, / out of sight, out of mind." Seeded with lyrics of old love songs and spirituals, here we meet solitude, resignation, and a glad cry that while a return to the beloved earth is impossible, "all things come from splendor," and the urgent question that the poet can't help but ask: "Will you miss me when I'm gone?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Buffalo Yoga:

"[Wright's] penetrating and ravishingly gorgeous lyrical poems are at once classically philosophical and freshly revealing. For Wright, the brimming natural world is holy, yet he anthropomorphizes nature with rampant inventiveness, intimacy, wit, and wonder . . . Buffalo Yoga, the title of this elegantly contemplative collection and of the long, enrapturing poem at its heart, evocatively names the union between nature and human consciousness . . . Wright, a profoundly yogic poet, illuminates and exalts in the entire astonishing spectrum of existence." -Donna Seaman, Booklist

Praise for Charles Wright:
"Has any other American poet been writing as beautifully and daringly over the past twenty-five years as Charles Wright? Possibly. But I cannot imagine who it would be . . . Wright has a hunk of the ineffable in his teeth and he won't let go. In poem after poem he plumbs our deepest relationships with nature, time, love, death, creation." -Philip Levine, American Poet, citation for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

"His easy meditative line, drawing on details of nature and history, is never laconic, but full of flashes and jolts to another order of awareness . . . Such poetry welcomes the reader into its landscapes, then takes her or him through their vanishing points." -Bonnie Costello, Newsday

"There is no poet of his generation whose career has unfolded with such genuine authority as Charles Wright's, or whom I read with more astonishment and gratitude." -J.D. McClatchy, Poetry

From the Publisher
Praise for Buffalo Yoga: "[Wright's] penetrating and ravishingly gorgeous lyrical poems are at once classically philosophical and freshly revealing. For Wright, the brimming natural world is holy, yet he anthropomorphizes nature with rampant inventiveness, intimacy, wit, and wonder . . . Buffalo Yoga, the title of this elegantly contemplative collection and of the long, enrapturing poem at its heart, evocatively names the union between nature and human consciousness . . . Wright, a profoundly yogic poet, illuminates and exalts in the entire astonishing spectrum of existence." -Donna Seaman, Booklist Praise for Charles Wright: "Has any other American poet been writing as beautifully and daringly over the past twenty-five years as Charles Wright? Possibly. But I cannot imagine who it would be . . . Wright has a hunk of the ineffable in his teeth and he won't let go. In poem after poem he plumbs our deepest relationships with nature, time, love, death, creation." -Philip Levine, American Poet, citation for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

"His easy meditative line, drawing on details of nature and history, is never laconic, but full of flashes and jolts to another order of awareness . . . Such poetry welcomes the reader into its landscapes, then takes her or him through their vanishing points." -Bonnie Costello, Newsday

"There is no poet of his generation whose career has unfolded with such genuine authority as Charles Wright's, or whom I read with more astonishment and gratitude." -J.D. McClatchy, Poetry

The Barnes & Noble Review
Charles Wright has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award. He has nothing to prove, and his poetry reveals his independence and eccentric elegance. Littlefoot, Wright's 18th book, takes on memory and loss; mortality; writing; landscape; inner and outer weather. The book-length poem has a long, slow, floating quality. It discourses on time's ravages and gifts.
It may not be written
in any book, but it is
written --
You can't go back.
Littlefoot is inhabited by birds, mountains, clouds, and trees more than people. It instructs us like the Tao Te Ching laced with American grief. "But nature is not sincere, nor is it insincere." We must not "be negligent, / So that our hearts end up like diamonds, and not roots." Gorgeous imagery occupies every page. "Deer huddle…then burst like flames in the air." Wright depicts "the Chinese vocabulary of the grasses," "the dark bandages of dusk." He wields color like a master painter -- "poppies along the near hill glisten like small fires, / Pink and orange and damp red." Yet the poet worries that he hasn't done enough." "All I have left undone, I hope someone will make good / in this life or the next." Littlefoot begins and ends in autumn, transforming melancholy to praise-song, "Praise for the left-over and over-looked, / praise for the left hand / And the horse with one lame leg." It is a hymn composed of "pennywhistle music" and silence "here under the latches of Paradise." --Liz Rosenberg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374189662
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/29/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 1,444,026
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award, teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

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