On Wings of Song: Poems about Birds

Overview

From backyard to barnyard, from hawks to hummingbirds, from pelicans to peacocks, from Coleridge's albatross to Keats's nightingale to Poe's raven-all manner of feathered beings, the inspiration for poetic flights of fancy through the ages, are gathered together in this delightful volume.

Some of the winged treasures: Emily Dickinson on the jay; Gertrude Stein on pigeons; Seamus Heaney on turkeys; Tennyson on the eagle; Spenser on the merry cuckoo; Amy Clampitt on the ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$12.65
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (24) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $8.58   
  • Used (15) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

From backyard to barnyard, from hawks to hummingbirds, from pelicans to peacocks, from Coleridge's albatross to Keats's nightingale to Poe's raven-all manner of feathered beings, the inspiration for poetic flights of fancy through the ages, are gathered together in this delightful volume.

Some of the winged treasures: Emily Dickinson on the jay; Gertrude Stein on pigeons; Seamus Heaney on turkeys; Tennyson on the eagle; Spenser on the merry cuckoo; Amy Clampitt on the whippoorwill; Po Chü-i on cranes; John Updike on seagulls; W.S. Merwin on the duck; Elizabeth Bishop on the sandpiper; Rilke on flamingoes; Margaret Atwood on vultures; the Bible on the ostrich; Sylvia Plath on the owl; Melville on the hawk; Yeats on wild swans; Virgil on the harpies; Thomas Hardy on the darkling thrush; and Wallace Stevens on thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375407499
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Series: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 337,847
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 4.26 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

J. D. McClatchy is the author of five collections of poems: Scenes From Another Life, Stars Principal, The Rest of the Way, Ten Commandments, and Hazmat. He has also written two books of essays: White Paper and Twenty Questions. He has edited many other books, including The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, Poets on Painters, and Horace: The Odes. In addition, he edits The Voice of the Poet series for Random House AudioBooks, and has written seven opera libretti. He is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has taught at Princeton, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins, and is now a professor at Yale, where since 1991 he has edited The Yale Review. He lives in Stonington, Connecticut.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

"Seagulls"
by John Updike

A gull, up close,
looks surprisingly stuffed.
His fluffy chest seems filled with an inexpensive taxidermist's material rather lumpily inserted. The legs,
unbent, are childish crayon strokes--
too simple to be workable.
And even the feather-markings,
whose intricate symmetry is the usual glory of birds,
are in the gull slovenly,
as if God makes them too many to make them very well.

Are they intelligent?
We imagine so, because they are ugly.
The sardonic one-eyed profile, slightly cross,
the narrow, ectomorphic head, badly combed,
the wide and nervous and well-muscled rump all suggest deskwork: shipping rates by day, Schopenhauer by night, and endless coffee.

At that hour on the beach when the flies begin biting in the renewed coolness and the backsliding skin of the after-surf reflects a pink shimmer before being blotted,
the gulls stand around in the dimpled sand like those melancholy European crowds that gather in cobbled public squares in the wake of assassinations and invasions,
heads cocked to hear the latest radio reports.

It is also this hour when plump young couples walk down to the water, bumping together,
and stand thigh-deep in the rhythmic glass.
Then they walk back toward the car,
tugging as if at a secret between them but which neither quite knows--
walk capricious paths through the scattering gulls,
as in some mythologies beautiful gods stroll unconcerned among our mortal apprehensions.

John Updike on "Seagulls":

My distinct memory is that I was pondering gulls while lying on Crane Beach in Ipswich when the first stanza came over me in a spasm of inspiration. Penless and paperless, I ran to the site of a recent beach fire and wrote in charcoal on a large piece of unburned driftwood. Then I cumbersomely carried my improvised tablet home. It must have been late in the beach season, and my final stanzas slow to ripen, for the poem's completion is dated early December.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)