Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems

Overview

Until the late 1970s, W. D. Snodgrass was known primarily as a confessional poet and a key player in the emergence of that mode of poetry in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Snodgrass makes poetry out of the daily neuroses and everyday failures of a man—a husband, father, and teacher. This domestic suffering occurs against a backdrop of more universal suffering which Snodgrass believes is inherent in the human experience. Not for Specialists includes 35 new poems complemented by the superb work he wrote in the ...

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Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems

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Overview

Until the late 1970s, W. D. Snodgrass was known primarily as a confessional poet and a key player in the emergence of that mode of poetry in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Snodgrass makes poetry out of the daily neuroses and everyday failures of a man—a husband, father, and teacher. This domestic suffering occurs against a backdrop of more universal suffering which Snodgrass believes is inherent in the human experience. Not for Specialists includes 35 new poems complemented by the superb work he wrote in the Pulitzer Prize winning collection, Heart’s Needle, along with poetry from seven other distinguished collections.

from “Nocturnes”

Seen from higher up, it makes its first move in the low creekbed, the marshlands down the valley, spreading across the open hayfields, the hedgerows with their tops still lit, laps the roadbed, flows over lawns and gardens, past the house and up the wooded hillside back behind us till only some few rays still scythe between the treetrunks from the far horizon and are gone.

W. D. Snodgrass, born in Pennsylvania in 1926, is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, including The Fuehrer Bunker: The Complete Cycle (BOA, 1995); Each in His Season (BOA, 1993); and Heart's Needle (1959), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other books include To Sound Like Yourself: Essays on Poetry (BOA, 2002), After-Images: Autobiographical Sketches (BOA, 1999) and six volumes of translation, including Selected Translations (BOA Editions, 1998), which won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award.

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Editorial Reviews

Brad Leithauser
Snodgrass published an earlier selected poems nearly 20 years ago, but this fuller edition, coinciding with his 80th birthday, clarifies as never before the range of his accomplishment.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Snodgrass made his splash with Heart's Needle (1959), a careful sequence of rhymed poems about his marital troubles and his daughter: the volume helped create so-called "confessional poetry" and won a Pulitzer Prize. Snodgrass gave his later allegiance not to autobiography, but to technique, pursuing, on the one hand, sad, clear, lyrical poems and rueful epigrams, and on the other, ambitious if not quixotic multipoem projects. Among the former, most of the best are brand new: they take on subjects as disparate as twilight fireflies, the war in Iraq, hip replacements and the man who stole Snodgrass's credit card, in styles indebted to poets as different as Andrew Marvell and A.R. Ammons. One Ammons-like work is "The Fuhrer Bunker," a cycle of poems about, and spoken by, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler and other members of Hitler's inner circle, completed in 1995. As if in reaction to that grim, ambitious achievement, other pieces here feature graceful measures and a light touch: a quartet of seasonal odes breathes new life into very old topics. This is a judicious selection from a significant oeuvre. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
These poems, nearly a third new, serve as an excellent means of renewing one's acquaintance with this witty and eclectic Pulitzer Prize winner. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781929918775
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Series: American Poets Continuum Series
  • Pages: 251
  • Sales rank: 866,558
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


W. D. Snodgrass is author of over twenty books of poetry, two books of literary criticism, and six volumes of translation. Honors include an Ingram Merrill Foundation award, Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, Ford Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, and National Endownment for the Arts. He retired from teaching in 1994.
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Table of Contents

These trees stand ... 13
Ten days leave 14
Returned to Frisco, 1946 16
April inventory 17
Heart's needle 19
"After experience taught me ..." 37
The examination 39
A flat one 41
Lying awake 45
Lobsters in the window 46
What we said 47
Leaving the motel 48
A friend 49
No use 50
The lovers go fly a kite 51
Van Gogh : "the starry night" 53
The mother 61
The mouse 63
Viewing the body 64
Disposal 65
Fourth of July 66
To a child 68
An elm tree 73
Old apple trees 76
A Phoebe's nest 78
Owls 81
Mutability 82
The last time 83
A valediction 84
A locked house 85
Old jewelry 87
A seashell 88
Love lamp 89
Chorus : "old lady barkeep" 93
Dr. Joseph Goebbels, "days, American bombing flights" 94
Martin Bormann, "dearest beloved momsy girl" 97
Albert Speer, "so / I am / reborn?" 99
Hermann Goering, "and why, Herr Reichsmarschall ..." 101
Heinrich Himmler, "astral signs suggest" 103
Adolf Hitler, "down : I got it all : almost" 104
Albert Speer, "we / saved / the bridges" 107
Magda Goebbels, "now Joseph's sister's offered us ..." 109
Heinrich Himmler, "Aryan purity a strain" 110
Adolf Hitler, "best stuffed in a bag and drowned" 112
Eva Braun, "tea for two/ and two for tea" 116
Dr. Joseph Goebbels, "stand back, make way ..." 120
Adolf Hitler, "'to master the world ...'" 123
Magda Goebbels, "this is the needle that we give" 126
Hermann Goering, "when I speak to you ..." 130
Heinrich Himmler, "an, eye-patch" 132
Dr. Joseph Goebbels, "say goodbye to the help ..." 134
Chorus : "old lady barkeep" 135
Seasoned chairs for a child 139
W. D. Picks a bouquet for cock robin ... 143
W. D. Sits in Kafka's chair and is interrogated ... 144
Auction 145
The capture of Mr. Sun 147
A strolling minstrel's ballad ... 148
The carnival girl darkly attracts W.D. 149
Wire walker 150
The drunken minstrel rags his bluegrass lute 152
W.D. studies the spectra of departure 155
Disguised as Humpty-Dumpty ... 156
Dance suite : hip hop 158
The poet ridiculed by hysterical academics 160
From Spring suite 165
From Summer sequence 169
From Autumn variations 174
From Snow songs 177
Birds caught, birds flying 181
Elena Ceaucescu's bed 183
In memory of lost brain cells 184
An envoi, post-TURP 186
A curse 187
From In flower 190
The discreet advantages of a Reichstag fire 195
Talking heads 197
Gringoloandia 198
On the streets 200
Lady! - 202
At the villa 204
Farm kids 205
Leavings 206
On high 207
Song slam 208
Ruffed grouse 209
Who steals my good name 210
Nocturne : i : "leave your glasses" 211
Nocturne : ii : "seen from high up" 211
Nocturne : iii : "from the blocked-up chimney's side" 211
Nocturne : iv : "night voices 211
Nocturne : v : "at hearing's far edge" 211
Nocturne : vi : at home, lost 211
Nocturne : vii : "square by square" 211
Nightwatchman's song 217
Chasing fireflies 220
Fast foods : a rap Rondeau 222
Lasting 223
Parents 224
Sitting outside 225
Pacemaker 226
Packing up the lute 228
For Hugues Cuenod 229
Warning 231
A forty gun salute 232
Critic 233
Guru 234
Lifelong 235
A separation anthem 236
A presence 237
For the third marriage of my first ex-wife 238
Phone message 240
The moth chorale 241
Double forte 242
Invitation 243
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