Poetry of E. A. Robinson

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Overview


Donald Justice called Edwin Arlington Robinson "The first modern American poet." This original collection, edited by Robert Mezey, showcases many of Robinson's underappreciated shorter lyrics, with selections from The Children of the Night; Captain Craig; The Town Down the River; The Man Against the Sky; The Three Taverns; Avon's Harvest, Etc.; and Dionysus in Doubt.
        
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Overview


Donald Justice called Edwin Arlington Robinson "The first modern American poet." This original collection, edited by Robert Mezey, showcases many of Robinson's underappreciated shorter lyrics, with selections from The Children of the Night; Captain Craig; The Town Down the River; The Man Against the Sky; The Three Taverns; Avon's Harvest, Etc.; and Dionysus in Doubt.
        
Robert Mezey, a Guggenheim and NEA fellow, is poet-in-residence at Pomona College and the author of numerous volumes of verse, including Evening Wind. He provides a stimulating Introduction for this collection, together with extracts of Robinson's ideas about verse and criticism of his work. Robert Frost's Introduction to King Jasper is reproduced in full. Robert Mezey contends that E. A. Robinson is "a national treasure, one of the four or five best poets America has yet produced. . . . [He] wrote about ordinary people, old men who play cards and drink cider, unregenerate skirt chasers, village philosophers and cranks, butchers and millers and country doctors, maiden aunts, solitary drunks who have outlived their cronies—Americans suffering their irremediable woes."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679602620
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/11/1999
  • Series: Modern Library Editorial Library Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.05 (w) x 7.59 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
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Read an Excerpt


BOKARDO

Well, Bokardo, here we are;
Make yourself at home.
Look around-you haven't far
To look-and why be dumb?
Not the place that used to be,
Not so many things to see;
But there's room for you and me.
And you-you've come.

Talk a little; or, if not,
Show me with a sign
Why it was that you forgot
What was yours and mine.
Friends, I gather, are small things
In an age when coins are kings;
Even at that, one hardly flings
Friends before swine.

Rather strong? I knew as much,
For it made you speak.
No offense to swine, as such,
But why this hide-and-seek?
You have something on your side,
And you wish you might have died,
So you tell me. And you tried
One night last week?

You tried hard? And even then
Found a time to pause?
When you try as hard again,
You'll have another cause.
When you find yourself at odds
With all dreamers of all gods,
You may smite yourself with rods-
But not the laws.

Though they seem to show a spite
Rather devilish,
They move on as with a might
Stronger than your wish.
Still, however strong they be,
They bide man's authority:
Xerxes, when he flogged the sea,
May've scared a fish.

It's a comfort, if you like,
To keep honor warm,
But as often as you strike
The laws, you do no harm.
To the laws, I mean. To you-
That's another point of view,
One you may as well indue
With some alarm.

Not the most heroic face
To present, I grant;
Nor will you insure disgrace
By fearing what you want.
Freedom has a world of sides,
And if reason oncederides
Courage, then your courage hides
A deal of cant.

Learn a little to forget
Life was once a feast;
You aren't fit for dying yet,
So don't be a beast.
Few men with a mind will say,
Thinking twice, that they can pay
Half their debts of yesterday,
Or be released.

There's a debt now on your mind
More than any gold?
And there's nothing you can find
Out there in the cold?
Only-what's his name?-Remorse?
And Death riding on his horse?
Well, be glad there's nothing worse
Than you have told.

Leave Remorse to warm his hands
Outside in the rain.
As for Death, he understands,
And he will come again.
Therefore, till your wits are clear,
Flourish and be quiet-here.
But a devil at each ear
Will be a strain?

Past a doubt they will indeed,
More than you have earned.
I say that because you need
Ablution, being burned?
Well, if you must have it so,
Your last flight went rather low.
Better say you had to know
What you have learned.

And that's over. Here you are,
Battered by the past.
Time will have his little scar,
But the wound won't last.
Nor shall harrowing surprise
Find a world without its eyes
If a star fades when the skies
Are overcast.

God knows there are lives enough,
Crushed, and too far gone
Longer to make sermons of,
And those we leave alone.
Others, if they will, may rend
The worn patience of a friend
Who, though smiling, sees the end,
With nothing done.

But your fervor to be free
Fled the faith it scorned;
Death demands a decency
Of you, and you are warned.
But for all we give we get
Mostly blows? Don't be upset;
You, Bokardo, are not yet
Consumed or mourned.

There'll be falling into view
Much to rearrange;
And there'll be a time for you
To marvel at the change.
They that have the least to fear
Question hardest what is here;
When long-hidden skies are clear,
The stars look strange.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Luke Havergal 3
John Evereldown 5
The House on the Hill 7
Richard Cory 8
Dear Friends 9
The Story of the Ashes and the Flame 10
Zola 11
Aaron Stark 12
Cliff Klingenhagen 13
The Clerks 14
Fleming Helphenstine 15
Thomas Hood 16
Horace to Leuconoe 17
Reuben Bright 18
The Tavern 19
George Crabbe 20
On the Night of a Friend's Wedding 21
Verlaine 22
Octaves: XI, XXIII 23
Isaac and Archibald 27
Aunt Imogen 40
The Growth of "Lorraine" 45
Erasmus 46
Cortege 47
Variations of Greek Themes 48
Calverly's 57
Momus 59
The White Lights 60
Leonora 61
How Annandale Went Out 62
Miniver Cheevy 63
The Companion 65
For a Dead Lady 66
The Revealer 67
The Gift of God 73
John Gorham 75
Hillcrest 77
Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Stratford 79
Eros Turannos 92
Old Trails 94
The Unforgiven 98
Veteran Sirens 100
Another Dark Lady 101
The Poor Relation 102
Bewick Finzer 105
Bokardo 106
The Valley of the Shadow 113
The Wandering Jew 118
Neighbors 122
The Mill 123
The Dark Hills 124
The Three Taverns 125
The Flying Dutchman 136
Tact 137
John Brown 138
Archibald's Example 145
A Song at Shannon's 146
Souvenir 147
Firelight 148
Late Summer 149
Mr. Flood's Party 155
Ben Trovato 157
The Tree in Pamela's Garden 158
Vain Gratuities 159
Lost Anchors 160
Recalled 161
Afterthoughts 162
Caput Mortuum 163
Monadnock Through the Trees 164
The Long Race 165
Many Are Called 166
Rembrandt to Rembrandt 167
Haunted House 181
The Sheaves 182
Karma 183
As It Looked Then 184
A Man in Our Town 185
Why He Was There 186
New England 187
Reunion 188
A Christmas Sonnet 189
App. 1 Robinson Speaking 193
App. 2 Commentary by Scholars, Critics, and Other Poets 198
App. 3 Robert Frost's Introduction to E. A. Robinson's "King Jasper" 205
Notes 215
Index of Titles and First Lines 241
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2001

    Best Collection Ever

    I loved this collection because the book was smaller than a normal paperback and even the book cover was classy and this is how poetry is meant to be read on pages published like so.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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