Poems of New York

Poems of New York

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by Elizabeth Schmidt
     
 

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New York City has always been a larger-than-life, half-mythical place, and this collection offers an appropriately stunning mosaic of its many incarnations in poetry–ranging from Walt Whitman’s exuberant celebrations to contemporary poets’ moving responses to the September 11 attack on the city.

All the icons of this greatest of cities swirl

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Overview

New York City has always been a larger-than-life, half-mythical place, and this collection offers an appropriately stunning mosaic of its many incarnations in poetry–ranging from Walt Whitman’s exuberant celebrations to contemporary poets’ moving responses to the September 11 attack on the city.

All the icons of this greatest of cities swirl and flash through these pages: taxis and subways, bridges and skyscrapers, ghettos and roof gardens and fire escapes, from the South Bronx to Coney Island to Broadway to Central Park, and from Langston Hughes’s Harlem to James Merrill’s Upper East Side. Wallace Stevens, e. e. cummings, W. H. Auden, Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, and Audre Lorde are just a few of the poets gathered here, alongside a host of new young voices.

Encompassing as many moods, characters, and scenes as this multifaceted, ever-changing metropolis has to offer, Poems of New York will be treasured by literary lovers of New York everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
In 1811, city planners unveiled the urban grid that would become the New York we know; not long afterward, the city's first poet, Walt Whitman, came along to chronicle its particular nexus of enthusiasm, expansiveness, and elegant ennui. This well-selected volume of New York poems, conceived in the days following September 11, 2001, includes not only the tried-and-true anthology pieces but an assortment of excellent lesser-known poems; we're reminded that in New York all things end "Too soon! Too soon!" (as Ferlinghetti exclaimed), although the city's sophisticated residents will murmur only "It gets so terribly late" (Elizabeth Bishop, teasing a friend). There are some stirring September 11th elegies here, but Whitman's words speak most consolingly, across the century, to the city's new sense of strength imperilled: "It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall, / The dark threw its patches down upon me also."
Adam Kirsch
Poems of New York, a new entry in the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series, succeeds extraordinarily well in capturing the major strands of New York poetry. Part of the charm of the book is simply in the details, the familiar things transformed by metaphor.
The New York Observer
Publishers Weekly
From Walt Whitman's "Mannahatta" to Ted Berrigan's "Whitman in Black" and beyond to Hettie Jones's "Dust A Survival Kit, Fall 2001," Poems of New York collects poetic responses to Gotham's many facets. Selected and edited by Open City contributing editor and New York Times Book Review poetry reviewer Elizabeth Schmidt, the more than 125 poems here tend toward less familiar works from familiar names. Instead of Frank O'Hara's "A Step Away from Them" we get "Steps" ("all I want is a room up there/ and you in it") though Auden's "September 1, 1939" and Williams's famous "The Great Figure" the figure `5' glimpsed on a fire truck are here. As Schmidt notes in her introduction, "Poets who have written about New York are masters at preserving, and allowing us to cherish, moments of life in this theater of chance and change."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375415043
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/13/2002
Series:
Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
4.36(w) x 6.48(h) x 0.74(d)

Read an Excerpt

If I Should Learn by Edna St. Vincent Millay

If I should learn, in some quite casual way,
That you were gone, not to return again—
Read from the back-page of a paper, say,
Held by a neighbor in a subway train,
How at the corner of this avenue
And such a street (so are the papers filled)
A hurrying man—who happened to be you—
At noon to-day had happened to be killed,
I should not cry aloud—I could not cry
Aloud, or wring my hands in such a place—
I should but watch the station lights rush by
With a more careful interest on my face,
Or raise my eyes and read with greater care
Where to store furs and how to treat the hair.

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