Of This World: New and Selected Poems

Overview

?A book by Joseph Stroud is a rare and exciting event.??The Bloomsbury Review

"In just four books since the 1960s, the calm, California-based writer?whose works also describe his travels in Vietnam, Laos, India and even the Solomon Islands?has gathered devotees to his pellucid free verse with its unpretentious, unbuttoned feel and its Buddhist overtones." ?Publishers Weekly

"(Stroud's) poems speak from around the globe: Venice, London, Santo Domingo, Guatemala, Vietnam, Santa ...

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Overview

“A book by Joseph Stroud is a rare and exciting event.”—The Bloomsbury Review

"In just four books since the 1960s, the calm, California-based writer—whose works also describe his travels in Vietnam, Laos, India and even the Solomon Islands—has gathered devotees to his pellucid free verse with its unpretentious, unbuttoned feel and its Buddhist overtones." —Publishers Weekly

"(Stroud's) poems speak from around the globe: Venice, London, Santo Domingo, Guatemala, Vietnam, Santa Cruz, Singapore. Stroud enters the minds of painters such as Goya, Brueghel, and Giotto Bondone, and he pays homage to the poets Blake, Milton, Smart, Lorca, Machado, and Jeffers....Many of the poems own a clarity that opens to unexpected emotional depths. One would be tempted to call them Zen poems because all have a quiet at the core, but they also love the surfaces."—ForeWord

"Reading Joseph Stroud's Of This World: New and Selected Poems, two words come to mind, namely 'breadth' and 'breath.' 'Breadth' because of his unerring command of odes, prose poems, sestets, etc....And 'breath' because of each poem's sure-footed movement....Make no mistake, however, these are not sleepy meditations that go up in incense smoke, but fleshy encounters, sensuous reveries, poems that are as much throbbing taproots as they are like that imaginary wingless bird that never lands, or, in other words, poems that flock as much as they flow." —Bookslut

Joseph Stroud knows the value of taking one’s proper time to write poems, and taking great care when presenting a book to the world. Stroud has published four books in forty years, and his work has earned a devoted audience, including Jane Hirschfield, Ted Kooser, and Jim Harrison. Of This World includes the best from Stroud’s previous volumes, as well as a series of new poems and translations.

The Georgia Review observed that “Joseph Stroud moves easily from the concise to the voluptuous.” He does this through various forms—compressed lyrics, longer narratives, odes, expansive prose poems. Informed by the qualities of clarity and compassion, and inspired by artists and writers as diverse as Li Po, Neruda, and Giotto, Stroud articulates a reverential attention to the world, and a commitment to revelations found beyond the self.

Across the ravine from the mill house there’s a grassy patch where gypsies keep a donkey tied to a tree. Sometimes I’ll cross the stream and bring him an apple, holding it out like a rare jewel. He’ll contemplate it, then take my whole hand into his lips as soft as suede, and I can’t tell how he does it, but when his head lifts back, the apple has disappeared.

Joseph Stroud is the recipient of the prestigious Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. His poems have been featured on National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He splits his time between Santa Cruz, California, and a hand-built cabin in the Sierras.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In just four books since the 1960s, the calm, California-based writer-whose works also describe his travels in Vietnam, Laos, India and even the Solomon Islands-has gathered devotees to his pellucid free verse, with its unpretentious, unbuttoned feel and its Buddhist overtones. A poem about walking in England tells us "how to walk the freshness/ back into your life"; "Ode to the Smell of Firewood" begins, "Late, when the stars/ open in the cold/ I opened the door./ The sea/ was galloping/ in the night." Stroud's confident understatements, with their debts to non-European traditions (especially to Chinese and Japanese classics) could well find many more fans. Stroud (Country of Light) arranges his poems not chronologically but by form or theme: the best poems are those that take him outside himself, and he has rightly placed them at the start and near the end. First comes a set of vivid six-line lyrics (some new, some from the 1990s); much later come prose poems about the Italian artist Giotto. "If he wants to paint crowns, he must learn how to hammer gold," Giotto says of an apprentice. "If he wants to paint Paradise, he must first find a pig." (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592850
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Pages: 374
  • Product dimensions: 8.68 (w) x 5.98 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Stroud is the author of four books of poetry, and his poems have been widely anthologized as well as featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. Stroud lives in Santa Cruz, California, and at Shay Creek in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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