New and Selected Poems

New and Selected Poems

by Donald Justice
     
 

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"He is one of our finest poets, " Anthony Hecht has said of Donald Justice. Winner most recently of a 1996 Lannan Literary Award, Justice has been the recipient of almost every contemporary grant and prize for poetry, from the Lamont to the Bollingen and the Pulitzer. The present volume replaces his 1980 Selected Poems and contains, in addition, poems from the

Overview

"He is one of our finest poets, " Anthony Hecht has said of Donald Justice. Winner most recently of a 1996 Lannan Literary Award, Justice has been the recipient of almost every contemporary grant and prize for poetry, from the Lamont to the Bollingen and the Pulitzer. The present volume replaces his 1980 Selected Poems and contains, in addition, poems from the last 15 years.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1959, Justice's first collection won the Lamont Prize; 20 years later his Selected Poems won the Pulitzer. In 1987, The Sunset Maker (poems and other works) appeared and A Donald Justice Reader, another selection of mostly poems, followed in 1991. This collection features works culled from six previous titles, plus a dozen uncollected poems, among them a pantoum and sonnet (among the 15 poems labeled new are three from Reader, with only minor changes here). Meter and rhyme are featured throughout. If not using-often irregularly-a classic form, Justice improvises one, melding language, meaning and rhythm in a seemingly seamless whole. A haunting four-part sequence, My South, epitomizes his work: two ``sonnets'' don't rhyme, two only irregularly; one has 13 lines; meters vary. Small revisions of 1991's South are telling, e.g., part 4, ``On the Train,'' now includes the lines ``unless/ We should pass down dim corridors again,'' which give a wider, mysterious meaning to the original, specific phrase ``darkened aisle.'' Until we see a complete collected works, this is probably the definitive Justice. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The definitive Justice so far; from a poet who writes purely and precisely of simple things.
Donna Seaman
enowned for the purity of his form and the exactness of his language and considered the one true heir to Wallace Stevens, Justice achieves a precision in his poems that aligns our hearts and minds like north draws a compass needle. This stirring volume replaces Justice's "Selected Poems" (1980) and includes poems from six earlier collections, beginning with "Bad Dreams" (1959) and continuing through "The Sunset Maker" (1987), but its crowning glory is a wealth of beautiful new work. Justice writes about sadness and loneliness, time and memory, and other forces greater than ourselves, such as the turn of the earth and the spread of shadows, the tread of history and the "circuits of the lost." In each poem, Justice's perfectly structured lines carry the current of his brooding emotions like tree limbs channel sap and bones contain the dance of corpuscles, and this sense of controlled motion is echoed in his favorite images: buses and trains, women looking out windows, the path the morning light takes through a house or across a garden. And always, Justice advises us to see "all things for what they are."
Booknews
Justice received the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for a volume of Selected Poems. It is now superceded by the present volume, which varies the selection and adds many poems written in the intervening 15 years, including a substantial recent group. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307558541
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/04/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Poem to Be Read at 3 A.M.
(from "American Sketches")

Excepting the diner
On the outskirts
The town of Ladora
At 3 A.M.
Was dark but
For my headlights
And up in
One second-story room
A single light
Where someone
Was sick or
Perhaps reading
As I drove past
At seventy
Not thinking
This poemIs for whoever
Had the light on
Pantoum of the Great Depression

Our lives avoided tragedy
Simply by going on and on,
Without end and with little apparent meaning.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.
Simply by going on and on
We managed. No need for the heroic.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.
I don't remember all the particulars.
We managed. No need for the heroic.
There were the usual celebrations, the usual sorrows.
I don't remember all the particulars.
Across the fence, the neighbors were our chorus.
There were the usual celebrations, the usual sorrows.
Thank god no one said anything in verse.
The neighbors were our only chorus,
And if we suffered we kept quiet about it.
At no time did anyone say anything in verse.
It was the ordinary pities and fears consumed us,
And if we suffered we kept quiet about it.
No audience would ever know our story.
It was the ordinary pities and fears consumed us.
We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.
What audience would ever know our story?
Beyond our windows shone the actual world.
We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.
And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
Somewhere beyond our windows shone the world.
The Great Depression had entered our souls likefog.
And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
We did not ourselves know what the end was.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues.
But we did not ourselves know what the end was.
People like us simply go on.
We have our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues,
But it is by blind chance only that we escape tragedy.
And there is no plot in that; it is devoid of poetry.

Author Biography:

Meet the Author

Donald Justice was born in Miami, Florida, in 1925. A graduate of The University of Miami, he attended the universities of North Carolina, Stanford, and Iowa. His books include New and Selected Poems; A Donald Justice Reader (1991); The Sunset Maker (1987), a collection of poems, stories and a memoir; Selected Poems (1979), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize; Departures (1973); Night Light (1967); and The Summer Anniversaries (1959), which received the Academy's Lamont Poetry Selection. He has held teaching positions at Syracuse University, The University of California at Irvine, Princeton University, The University of Virginia, and The University of Iowa, and from 1982 until his retirement in 1992, he taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He won the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1991 and has received grants in poetry from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1997. He lives with his wife, Jean Ross, in Iowa City.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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