Negative Blue: Selected Later Poems


The culmination of the cycle that won Wright the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award

Time will append us like suit coats left out overnight

On a deck chair, loose change dead weight in the right pocket,

Silk handkerchief...

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Negative Blue: Selected Later Poems

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The culmination of the cycle that won Wright the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award

Time will append us like suit coats left out overnight

On a deck chair, loose change dead weight in the right pocket,

Silk handkerchief limp with dew,

sleeves in a slow dance with the wind.

And love will kill us—

Love, and the winds from under the earth

that grind us to grain-out.

—from "Still Life with Spring and Time to Burn"

When Charles Wright published Appalachia in 1998, it marked the completion of a nine-volume project, of which James Longenbach wrote in the Boston Review, "Charles Wright's trilogy of trilogies—call it 'The Appalachian Book of the Dead'—is sure to be counted among the great long poems of the century."

The first two of those trilogies were collected in Country Music (1982) and The World of the Ten Thousand Things (1990). Here Wright adds to his third trilogy (Chickamauga [1995], Black Zodiac [1997], and Appalachia [1998]) a section of new poems that suggest new directions in the work of this sensuous, spirit-haunted poet.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

It is the sign of a mature poet to admit that he has been talking about one thing for 30 years and then to confess, with childlike wonder, what that thing is: "Wind like big sticks in the trees..." However, it is precisely this dispersion of expectation that Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Wright has developed into a lifelong song of what cannot be said. Negative Blue tracks ten years of the Appalachian poet's descriptions of the incommunicable with selected poems from his final "trilogy of trilogies," along with new poems that push further into the "unseen and nightlong."

There is a thick musicality in Wright's poems that urges you to ruminate on the sounds of the words before even considering their meaning. The constant beats and switchbacks of soft and hard sounds accumulate on your tongue. The subjects of the poems, when there is a discernible, traditional subject, dissipate under the weight of heavy descriptions. His liberal use of hyphens and the repetition of sounds produce a tight clacking of sound images that conjure up the sound of small drums as much as any visual counterpoint:

      Spring's sap-crippled, arthritic, winter-weathered, myth limb,
      Whose roots are my mother's hair.

The poems in Negative Blue are remarkable for their sharpness of language. Wright is a master at fingering through the spectrum of language to secure that rare, particular word that both fits perfectly and at the same time unhinges the reader with its unfamiliarity. His modernist upbringing in the footsteps of Pound and Eliot has imbued his poetry with a strong sense of the disordering of the world still struggling with the endless attempt to get at the ultimate sense of things through words.

This inherent brokenness of the world comes through in both form and meaning in Wright's poetry. Narrative fragments, prayer, meditation, homage to other poets, humor, and the loose repetition of sounds gather in force to emphasize the entropic play of life. Yet, the poet is too aware of falling into a cheap description of the chaos of the world and continually intertwines a polished beauty of possible meaning into his verses. He is indebted to such Chinese poets as Tu Fu and Li Po with their strong convictions of the relativity of things and the impenetrable nature of the world. In "After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard" he writes:

      The sky dogs are whimpering.
      Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
            up from the damp grass.
      Into the world's tumult, into the chaos of every day,
      Go quietly, quietly.

In both Wright's literary inspirations and his personal style, there is a struggle between the attempt to mentally dissect life and an urge to surrender to its sheer happening. He is certainly on the side of the academic buttress, working from the wealth of both East and West and of literature and art, to further this fight with himself. Yet, the many allusions and provocations he draws from old books and sharp thoughts become quickly extraneous when he falls back into the rhythm of the natural world.

The poet's acute awareness of the movement and lessons of nature, and of humans within this world, is certainly the most potent element to his verses. Wright's involvement in the intricate presence of the "inside-out of the winter gum trees" and the "dead lemon leaves" really frees the reader from the mental hammering that often turns his poetry into heavy aphorisms. The rich, kaleidoscopic detail is truly alive when the rough beat-beat of his voice submits to what it is describing:

      Bloodless, mid-August meridian,
      Afternoon like a sucked-out, transparent insect shell,
      Diffused, and tough to the touch.
      Something about a labial, probably,
            something about the blue.

Wright is an autobiographical poet, and this new collection is the culmination of 30 years of his spiritual rummaging through the books and hills of the earth. He is a poet of the old order, the rare breed who is sensitive to every movement around him and within him. From his childhood in rural Tennessee to the distant piazzas of Italy and the wisdom of the T'ang dynasty, Negative Blue confirms that his journey has led ever further and deeper into himself.

—Justin Frimmer

From the Publisher
"There are precious few contemporary poets in whose work I find as much sheer wisdom as in Wright's. . . . His ascetic discipline is an instruction and an aesthetic. The whole world seems to orbit in a kind of meditative, slow circle around Wright's grave influence."—David Baker, Poetry

"Truly an event. One of our national treasures has been watching us and listening to us for decades, and [Negative Blue] is proof that he's watched and listened well. . . . One of the remarkable things about Wright is precisely what happens in the back yard, on the front lawn, or at a cafe. His poems are visions of things ethereal, but even with all their luminescence and otherworldly shades, they remain within earshot of a lawn mower starting up or cicadas announcing the hour."—Dionisio D. Martinez, Miami Herald

"[Wright is] a master craftsman who if asked would humbly call himself a journeyman, for the mastery of an art form, as Pound said, is the work of a lifetime."—Eric Pankey, Verse

"In an age of casual faithlessness, Wright successfully reconstitutes the provocative tension between belief and materialism."—Albert Mobilio, The Village Voice

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The widely esteemed Virginia-based poet collects a decade's worth of striking description and laid-back meditation in this sample of work from his last three books: the energetic Chickamauga, the introspective (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) Black Zodiac and the elegiac Appalachia. Leaping and skating among apothegms and visual intricacies, Wright's skeins of beautiful lines offer the shifting emotional textures of his day-to-day thought and experience: "Into the world tumult," he advises his poems, "into the chaos of every day,/ Go quietly, quietly." "Landscape's a lever of transcendence," he writes, though elsewhere he insists he's just setting down impressions--"Journal and landscape I tried to resuscitate both." Wright's "verbal amulets" chronicle the world's imperviousness to our words for it, and our stubborn and lambent need to find those words--one description of the Blue Ridge or the Adriatic claims to respond to an ancient Chinese poet, the next to a contemporary philosopher. Wright's power lies less in whole poems than in lines within them: those linear strengths owe something to Ezra Pound, and something more to the antiphonal balances of the Psalms. Wright ends the volume with seven new short poems: sometimes lugubrious, sometimes rapturous, they focus more than ever on aging and loss--"time, the true dissolver, eats away at our fingertips." "I've talked about one thing for thirty years,/ and said it time and again," another new poem declares; in an important sense all Wright's recent career makes up one poem, a continual, often compelling exploration of seeing, thinking and the dialectic between them--at one moment Wright is declaring "Whatever has been will be again,/ unaltered, ever returning"; at the next he's drawn to the "Serenity of the rhododendrons, pink and white." (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
This haunted, elegaic book could not have been more beautiful.
From the Publisher
"There are precious few contemporary poets in whose work I find as much sheer wisdom as in Wright's. . . . His ascetic discipline is an instruction and an aesthetic. The whole world seems to orbit in a kind of meditative, slow circle around Wright's grave influence."—Poetry

"Truly an event. One of our national treasures has been watching us and listening to us for decades, and [Negative Blue] is proof that he's watched and listened well. . . . One of the remarkable things about Wright is precisely what happens in the back yard, on the front lawn, or at a cafe. His poems are visions of things ethereal, but even with all their luminescence and otherworldly shades, they remain within earshot of a lawn mower starting up or cicadas announcing the hour."— Miami Herald

"[Wright is] a master craftsman who if asked would humbly call himself a journeyman, for the mastery of an art form, as Pound said, is the work of a lifetime."—Verse

"In an age of casual faithlessness, Wright successfully reconstitutes the provocative tension between belief and materialism."—The Village Voice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374527730
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/4/2000
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 670,753
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Wright received the National Book Award for Poetry in 1983 for Country Music, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1995 for Chickamauga, and the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award in 1998 for Black Zodiac.

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Read an Excerpt



Three years ago, in the afternoons,
                         I used to sit back here and try
To answer the simple arithmetic of my life,
But never could figure it—
This object and that object
Never contained the landscape
                              nor all of its implications,
This tree and that shrub
Never completely satisfied the sum or quotient
I took from or carried to,
                            nor do they do so now,
Though I'm back here again, looking to calculate,
Looking to see what adds up.
Everything comes from something,
                       only something comes from nothing,
Lao Tzu says, more or less.
Eminently sensible, I say,
Rubbing this tiny snail shell between my thumb and two fingers.
Delicate as an earring,
                        it carries its emptiness like a child
It would be ridof.
I rub it clockwise and counterclockwise, hoping for anything
Resplendent in its vocabulary or disguise—
But one and one make nothing, he adds,
                                        endless and everywhere,
The shadow that everything casts.


Snub end of a dismal year,
                            deep in the dwarf orchard,
The sky with its undercoat of blackwash and point stars,
I stand in the dark and answer to
My life, this shirt I want to take off,
                                   which is on fire ...
Old year, new year, old song, new song,
                                         nothing will change hands
Each time we change heart, each time
Like a hard cloud that has drifted all day through the sky
Toward the night's shrugged shoulder
                                      with its epaulet of stars.

* * *

Prosodies rise and fall.
                          Structures rise in the mind and fall.
Failure reseeds the old ground.
Does the grass, with its inches in two worlds, love the dirt?
Does the snowflake the raindrop?
I've heard that those who know will never tell us,
                                                   and heard
That those who tell us will never know.
Words are wrong.
Structures are wrong.
                      Even the questions are compromise.
Desire discriminates and language discriminates:
They form no part of the essence of all things:
                                                 each word
Is a failure, each object
We name and place
                   leads us another step away from the light.
Loss is its own gain.
                       Its secret is emptiness.
Our images lie in the flat pools of their dark selves
Like bodies of water the tide moves.
They move as the tide moves.
                              Its secret is emptiness.

* * *

Four days into January,
                         the grass grows tiny, tiny
Under the peach trees.
Wind from the Blue Ridge tumbles the hat
Of daylight farther and farther
                                 into the eastern counties.
Sunlight spray on the ash limbs.
                                  Two birds
Whistle at something unseen, one black note and one interval.
We're placed between now and not-now,
                                        held by affection,
Large rock balanced upon a small rock.


Last night's stars and last night's wind
Are west of the mountains now, and east of the river.
Here, under the branches of the nine trees,
                                 how small the world seems.
Should we lament, in winter, our shadow's solitude,
Our names spelled out like snowflakes?
Where is it written, the season's decrease diminishes me?
Should we long for stillness,
                               a hush for the trivial body
Washed in the colors of paradise,
Dirt-colored water-colored match-flame-and-wind-colored?
As one who has never understood the void,
                                           should I
Give counsel to the darkness, honor the condor's wing?
Should we keep on bowing to
                          an inch of this and an inch of that?
The world is a handkerchief.
Today I spread it across my knees.
Tomorrow they'll fold it into my breast pocket,
                                         white on my dark suit.


Back here, old snow like lace cakes,
Candescent and brittle now and then through the tall grass.
Remorse, remorse, the dark drones.
The body's the affliction,
No resting place in the black pews of the winter trees,
No resting place in the clouds.
Mercy upon us, old man,
You in the China dust, I this side of my past life,
Salt in the light of heaven.
Isolate landscape. World's grip.
The absolute, as small as a poker chip, moves off,
Bright moon shining between pines.


March is the month of slow fire,
                                 new grasses stung with rain,
Cold-shouldered, white-lipped.
Druidic crocus circles appear
Overnight, morose in their purple habits,
                                           wet cowls
Glistening in the cut sun.

* * *

Instinct will end us.
The force that measles the peach tree
                                       will divest and undo us.
The power that kicks on
                         the cells in the lilac bush
Will tumble us down and down.
Under the quince tree, purple cross points, and that's all right
For the time being,
                    the willow across the back fence
Menacing in its green caul.
When the full moon comes
                         gunning under the cloud's cassock
Later tonight, the stations
Will start to break forth like stars, their numbers flashing and then some.
Belief is a paltry thing
                          and will betray us, soul's load scotched
Against the invisible.
We are what we've always thought we were—
Peeling the membrane back,
                          amazed, like the jonquil's yellow head
Butting the nothingness—
                          in the wrong place, in the wrong body.
The definer of all things
                          cannot be spoken of.
It is not knowledge or truth.
We get no closer than next-to-it.
Beyond wisdom, beyond denial,
                                it asks us for nothing,
According to Pseudo-Dionysus, which sounds good to me.

* * *

Nubbly with enzymes,
The hardwoods gurgle and boil in their leathery sheaths.
Flame flicks the peony's fuse.
Out of the caves of their locked beings,
                                         fluorescent shapes
Roll the darkness aside as they rise to enter the real world.


In the skylight it's Sunday,
A little aura between the slats of the Venetian blinds.
Outside the front window,
                          a mockingbird balances
Gingerly on a spruce branch.
At the Munch house across the street,
Rebecca reads through the paper, then stares at her knees
On the front porch.
                    Church bell. Weed-eater's cough and spin.
From here, the color of mountains both is and is not,
Beginning of June,
Haze like a nesting bird in the trees,
The Blue Ridge partial,
                        then not partial,
Between the staff lines of the telephone wires and pine tips
That sizzle like E.T.'s finger.
Mid-nineties, and summer officially still three weeks away.

* * *

If truth is made and not found,
                                what an amazing world
We live in, more secret than ever
And beautiful of access.
Goodbye, old exits, goodbye, old entrances, the way
Out is the way in at last,
Two-hearted sorrow of middle age,
                                  substanceless blue,
Benevolent anarchy to tan and grow old with.
If sentences constitute
                         everything we believe,
Vocabularies retool
Our inability to measure and get it right,
And languages don't exist.
That's one theory. Here's another:
Something weighs on our shoulders
And settles itself like black light
                                     invisibly in our hair ...

* * *

Pool table. Zebra rug.
                       Three chairs in a half circle.
Buck horns and Ca' Paruta.
Gouache of the Clinchfield station in Kingsport, Tennessee.
High tide on the Grand Canal,
                              San Zeno in late spring
Taken by "Ponti" back in the nineteenth century.
I see the unknown photographer
                         under his dark cloth. Magnesium flash.
Silence. I hear what he has to say.
June 3rd, heat like Scotch tape on the skin,
Mountains the color of nothing again,
                                      then something through mist.
In Tuscany, on the Sette Ponti, Gròpina dead-ends
Above the plain and the Arno's marauding cities,
Columns eaten by darkness,
Cathedral unsentenced and plugged in
To what's-not-there,
                     windows of alabaster, windows of flame.


East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
                                         looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.
Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
                       I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
                  Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.
The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
                                           up from the damp grass.
Into the world's tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.


December, five days till Christmas,
                                    mercury red-lined
In the low twenties, glass throat
Holding the afternoon half-hindered
And out of luck.
              Goodbye to my last poem, "Autumn Thoughts."
Two electric wall heaters
                       thermostat on and off,
Ice one-hearted and firm in the mouth of the downspout
Outside, snow stiff as a wedding dress
Carelessly left unkempt
                        all week in another room.
Everything we desire is somewhere else,
                                     day too short,
Night too short, light snuffed and then relit,
Road salted and sanded down,
Sky rolling the white of its eye back
                                   into its head.
Reinvention is what we're after,
                                 Pliny's outline,
Living in history without living in the past
Is what the task is,
Quartering our desire,
                    making what isn't as if it were.


All morning I've walked about,
                               opening books and closing books,
Sitting in this chair and that chair,
Steady drip on the skylight,
                          steady hum of regret.
Who listens to anyone?
Across the room, bookcases,
                            across the street, summer trees.
Hear what the book says:
                         This earthly light
Is a seasoning, tempting and sweet and dangerous.
Resist the allurements of the eye.
Feet still caught in the toils of this world's beauty,
The gratifications of the eye

* * *

Noon in the early September rain.
A cicada whines,
                 his voice
Starting to drown through the rainy world,
No ripple of wind,
                   no sound but his song of black wings,
No song but the song of his black wings.
Such emptiness at the heart,
                             such emptiness at the heart of being,
Fills us in ways we can't lay claim to,
Ways immense and without names,
                                husk burning like amber
On tree bark, cicada wind-bodied,
Leaves beginning to rustle now
                                  in the dark tree of the self.

* * *

If time is water, appearing and disappearing
In one heliotropic cycle,
                          this rain
That sluices as through an hourglass
Outside the window into the gutter and downspout,
Measures our nature
                       and moves the body to music.
The book says, however,
                     time is not body's movement
But memory of body's movement.
Time is not water but the memory of water:
We measure what isn't there.
We measure the silence.
                        We measure the emptiness.


Afternoon overcast the color of water
                                   smoothed by clouds
That whiten where they enter the near end of the sky.
First day of my fifty-fifth year,
Last week of August limp as a frayed rope in the trees,
Yesterday's noise a yellow dust in my shirt pocket
Beneath the toothpick,
                       the .22 bullet and Amitone.
Sounds drift through the haze,
The shadowless orchard, peach leaves dull in the tall grass,
No wind, no bird shudder.
Green boat on the red Rivanna.
                               Rabbit suddenly in place
By the plum tree, then gone in three bounds.
Downshift of truck gears.

* * *

In 1958, in Monterey, California,
I wrote a journal of over one hundred pages
About the Tennessee line,
About my imagined unhappiness,
                               and how the sun set like a coffin
Into the grey Pacific.
How common it all was.
                       How uncommon I pictured myself.
Memento scrivi, skull-like and word-drunk,
                                      one hundred fourteen pages
Of inarticulate self-pity
Looking at landscape and my moral place within it,
The slurry of words inexorable and dark,
The ethical high ground inexorable and dark
I droned from
            hoping for prescience and a shibboleth ...

* * *

I remember the word and forget the word
                                        although the word
Hovers in flame around me.
Summer hovers in flame around me.
The overcast breaks like a bone above the Blue Ridge.
A loneliness west of solitude
Splinters into the landscape
                             uncomforting as Braille.
We are our final vocabulary,
                             and how we use it.
There is no secret contingency.
There's only the rearrangement, the redescription
Of little and mortal things.
There's only this single body, this tiny garment
Gathering the past against itself,
                                making it otherwise.


The river winds through the wilderness,
Li Po said
           of another place and another time.
It does so here as well, sliding its cargo of dragon scales
To gutter under the snuff
                       of marsh willow and tamarack.
Mid-morning, Montana high country,
Jack snipe poised on the scarred fence post,
Pond water stilled and smoothed out,
Swallows dog-fighting under the fast-moving storm clouds.
Expectantly empty, green as a pocket, the meadow waits
For the wind to rise and fill it,
                               first with a dark hand
Then with the rain's loose silver
A second time and a third
                          as the day doles out its hours.
Sunlight reloads and ricochets off the window glass.
Behind the cloud scuts,
                        inside the blue aorta of the sky,
The River of Heaven flows
With its barge of stars,
                   waiting for darkness and a place to shine.
We who would see beyond seeing
                  see only language, that burning field.


Verona, late January ...
                         Outside the calfè,
The snow, like papier-mâché, settles
Its strips all over Dante's bronze body, and holds fast.
Inside, a grappa
In one hand, a double espresso in the other,
I move through the room, slowly,
                              from chessboard to chessboard.
It's Tuesday, tournament night.
Dante's statue, beyond the window, grows larger and whiter
Under the floodlights
                   and serious Alpine snowfall.
In here I understand nothing,
                           not the chess, not the language,
Not even the narrow, pointed shoes the men all wear.
It's 1959. It's ten-thirty at night. I've been in the country for one week.
The nineteenth-century plush
                             on the chairs and loveseats
Resonates, purple and gold.
Three boards are in play in the front room, one in the bar.
My ignorance is immense,
                         as is my happiness.
Caught in the glow of all things golden
And white, I think, at twenty-three, my life has finally begun.
At a side table, under
The tulip-shaped lamps, a small group drinks to a wedding:
"Tutti maschi, "the groom toasts,
                                           and everyone lifts his full glass.
The huge snowflakes like soft squares
Alternately black and white in the flat light of the piazza,
I vamp in the plush and gold of the mirrors,
                                          in love with the world.
That was thirty years ago.
I've learned a couple of things since then
                                           not about chess
Or plush or all things golden and white.
Unlike a disease, whatever I've learned
Is not communicable.
                     A singular organism,
It does its work in the dark.
Anything that we think we've learned,
                                      we've learned in the dark.
If there is one secret to this life, it is this life.
This life and its hand-me-downs,
                                 bishop to pawn 4, void's gambit.
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Table of Contents

Sitting Outside at the End of Autumn 3
Reading Lao Tzu Again in the New Year 4
Under the Nine Trees in January 6
After Reading Wang Wei, I Go Outside to the Full Moon 7
Easter 1989 8
Reading Rorty and Paul Celan One Morning in Early June 10
After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard 12
Thinking of David Summers at the Beginning of Winter 13
Cicada 14
Tennessee Line 16
Looking Outside the Cabin Window, I Remember a Line by Li
Po 18
Mid-winter Snowfall in the Piazza Dante 19
Sprung Narratives 21
Broken English 30
Maple on the Hill 31
Chickamauga 33
Still Life on a Matchbox Lid 34
Blaise Pascal Lip-syncs the Void 35
Winter-Worship 36
The Silent Generation 37
An Ordinary Afternoon in Charlottesville 38
Mondo Angelico 39
MondoHenbane 40
Miles Davis and Elizabeth Bishop Fake the Break 41
Peccatology 42
East of the Blue Ridge, Our Tombs Are in the Dove's Throat 43
"Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it" 44
As Our Bodies Rise, Our Names Turn into Light 45
Absence Inside an Absence 46
Still Life with Spring and Time to Burn 47
With Simic and Marinetti at the Giubbe Rosse 48
To the Egyptian Mummy in the Etruscan Museum at Cortona 49
With Eddie and Nancy in Arezzo at the Caffè Grande 51
There Is No Shelter 52
Watching the Equinox Arrive in Charlottesville, September
1992 53
Waiting for Tu Fu 56
Paesaggio Notturno 59
Still Life with Stick and Word 60
Summer Storm 61
Looking West from Laguna Beach at Night 62
Looking Again at What I Looked At for Seventeen Years 63
Looking Across Laguna Canyon at Dusk, West-by-Northwest 64
Venexia I 65
Venexia II 66
Yard Work 67
Black Zodiac
Apologia Pro Vita Sua 71
Envoi 86
Poem Half in the Manner of Li Ho 88
Meditation on Form and Measure 90
Poem Almost Wholly in My Own Manner 93
Meditation on Summer and Shapelessness 96
The Appalachian Book of the Dead 99
Umbrian Dreams 101
October II 102
Lives of the Saints 103
Christmas East of the Blue Ridge 108
Negatives II 109
Lives of the Artists 110
Deep Measure 115
Thinking of Winter at the Beginning of Summer 116
Jesuit Graves 117
Meditation on Song and Structure 118
Sitting at Dusk in the Back Yard After the Mondrian
Retrospective 122
Black Zodiac 124
China Mail 128
Disjecta Membra 129
Stray Paragraphs in February, Year of the Rat 145
Stray Paragraphs in April, Year of the Rat 146
Basic Dialogue 147
Star Turn 148
A Bad Memory Makes You a Metaphysician, a Good One Makes
You a Saint 149
Thinking about the Poet Larry Levis One Afternoon in Late
May 150
In the Kingdom of the Past, the Brown-Eyed Man Is King 151
Passing the Morning under the Serenissima 152
Venetian Dog 153
In the Valley of the Magra 154
Returned to the Yaak Cabin, I Overhear an Old Greek Song 155
Ars Poetica II 156
Cicada Blue 157
All Landscape Is Abstract, and Tends to Repeat Itself 158
Opus Posthumous 159
Quotations 160
The Appalachian Book of the Dead II 162
Indian Summer II 163
Autumn's Sidereal, November's a Ball and Chain 164
The Writing Life 165
Reply to Wang Wei 166
Giorgio Morandi and the Talking Eternity Blues 167
Drone and Ostinato 168
Ostinato and Drone 169
"It's Turtles All the Way Down" 170
Half February 171
Back Yard Boogie Woogie 172
The Appalachian Book of the Dead III 173
Opus Posthumus II 174
Body Language 175
"When You're Lost in Juarez, in the Rain, and It's
Eastertime Too" 176
The Appalachian Book of the Dead IV 177
Spring Storm 178
Early Saturday Afternoon, Early Evening 179
"The Holy Ghost Asketh for Us with Mourning and Weeping
Unspeakable" 180
The Appalachian Book of the Dead V 181
Star Turn II 182
After Reading T'ao Ch'ing, I Wander Untethered Through
the Short Grass 183
Remembering Spello, Sitting Outside in Prampolini's Garden 184
After Rereading Robert Graves, I Go Outside to Get My
Head Together 186
American Twilight 187
The Appalachian Book of the Dead VI 188
Landscape as Metaphor, Landscape as Fate and a Happy Life 189
Opus Posthumus III 190
North American Bear
Step-children of Paradise 193
Freezing Rain 194
Thinking about the Night Sky, I Remember a Poem by Tu Fu 195
North American Bear 196
If You Talk the Talk, You Better Walk the Walk 199
St. Augustine and the Arctic Bear 200
Sky Diving 201
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    Posted January 26, 2009

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