The Museum of Clear Ideas [NOOK Book]

Overview

This is Donald Hall's most advanced work, extending his poetic reach even beyond his recent volumes. Conflict dominates this book, and conflict unites it. Hall takes poetry as an instrument for revelation, whether in an elegy for a (fictional) contemporary poet, or in the title series of poems, whose form imitates the first book of the Odes of Horace. The book's final section, "Extra Innings," moves with poignancy to questions about the end of the game.
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The Museum of Clear Ideas

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Overview

This is Donald Hall's most advanced work, extending his poetic reach even beyond his recent volumes. Conflict dominates this book, and conflict unites it. Hall takes poetry as an instrument for revelation, whether in an elegy for a (fictional) contemporary poet, or in the title series of poems, whose form imitates the first book of the Odes of Horace. The book's final section, "Extra Innings," moves with poignancy to questions about the end of the game.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Death opens this collection of powerful new poems by Hall The One Day with ``another elegy in the tradition / of mourning and envy, love and self-love--as another morning / delivers rain on the fishbone leaves of the rotted year.'' The poet so eulogized, however, is the fictional Bill Trout, ``twelve Aprils'' dead, and his arcane progress from Idahoan boyhood through midlife detox to madness--typical stations of the contemporary poetic cross--is gently mocked. Irony is the pitch sustained throughout the book, especially in the discursive poem ``Baseball'' composed of nine innings of nine stanzas of nine lines each, wherein the narrator, K.C. from Mudville, fancifully explains baseball to the dead Dada collagist Kurt Schwitters. To K.C., poets resemble pitchers with their ``fool 'em tricks,'' and the sport transcends motion: ``Baseball, like sexual intercourse / and art, stops short, for a moment, the / indecent continuous motion/of time forward, implying our death / and imminent decomposition.'' Loosely imitative of Horace's first book of odes, the title poem is a tour de force in which witty, allusive Horsecollar a minor character in Disney comics debates with the persona of Mister Zero in ``his prophylactic smirking dog-cynicism.'' Horsecollar discourses on rage, advises carpe diem , and cuts to the marrow of sexual passion and the mortal wounds of destiny: ``Do we determine our lives or suffer them?'' Death closes this volume with musings on the end of the game in ``Extra Innings.'' Hall's voice is more mature and classically spare than ever, offering revelatory glimpses of wisdom. Mar .
Library Journal
Hall's 11th book of poetry is a brilliantly inventive tour de force that opens with an elegy to a fictitious poet whose life was devoted to ``tapping at blocks of the language.'' But most of the book is taken up by two long poems. The first, ``Baseball,'' allows Hall to adopt the persona of Mudville's K.C., who ruminates about the relationship between art and baseball, ``pitcher and poet.'' The poem is divided into nine ``innings'' or sections, each containing nine stanzas, with nine lines per stanza and nine syllables per line. This concern with craft surfaces in the other long poem, a kind of Horatian ars poetica for the 1990s entitled ``The Museum of Clear Ideas.'' In this witty little masterpiece, Hall becomes old Horsecollar with Bic pen in hand, lamenting the complications of modern life, especially sexual ones enacted by characters with names like Flaccus and Sabina. Even the art of poetry has been destroyed by an army of ``McPoets.'' A significant and engaging book that belongs in all larger libraries.-- Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, Ill.
From Barnes & Noble
The esteemed author of prose and poetry uses classical Greek and pop culture as metaphors for life's moments of darkness and light. Comedy and conflict go hand in hand in these intricate, but readable poems.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547630397
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/24/1994
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,096,688
  • File size: 138 KB

Meet the Author

DONALD HALL, who served as poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president.


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Table of Contents

Another Elegy 1
The First Inning 13
The Second Inning 16
The Third Inning 19
The Fourth Inning 22
The Fifth Inning 25
The Sixth Inning 28
The Seventh Inning 31
The Eighth Inning 34
The Ninth Inning 37
Decius - whose guileful 43
We've come to expect 45
Let engine cowling 48
Winter's asperity mollifies 50
Who's this fellow 52
I'm not up to it 53
Let many bad poets 54
In the name of 56
Mount Kearsarge shines 57
Mercury, descendant 58
Camilla, never ask 59
The times are propitious 60
Drusilla informs 63
Ship of state, hightide 64
When the young husband 66
Old woman whom I 68
When the fine days 70
Nothing, my aging Flaccus 72
When I was young 73
Flaccus, drive up 74
Praise Mammon-Mazda 75
Let us meditate the virtue 76
Don't be afraid 77
We explore grief's 78
I suppose you've noticed 80
I celebrate myself 82
Arbogast, can you call 83
Sabina - who explored 84
Flaccus, Camilla 87
O Camilla, is it 88
It was Sigmund 89
Go write a poem 91
Don't let it bother 92
Horsecollar is rarely 93
When the goddess 94
Welcome back home 96
Nunc est bibendum 97
I, too, dislike 99
The Tenth Inning 103
The Eleventh Inning 107
The Twelfth Inning 111
Notes 119
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